Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

  • Westhoughton Community Network meets quarterly at venues around Westhoughton, bringing together local voluntary groups and organisations, raising awareness of the wide variety of activities in the town.
  • Now in our twelfth year, the inaugural forum meeting took place on 9th August 2011 at Brookfield Hall with groups taking part in the establishment of the community network. You can read more on the background, beginnings and activities of WCN >>> here.
  • Activity across the community had been hit by 'Lockdown' and 'Social Distancing' measures as well as the constant focus on the 'pandemic' during 2020 and 2021, with normal meetings not possible and all community activities restricted. Our regular gatherings were hit, with no or limited opportunity to get together. Some groups turned to virtual meetings and social activities (Zoom). Summer 2022, things began to return to normal and over the weeks and months that followed we saw activities resume, and venues re-opening and serving the community. Unfortunately, some groups have folded, and the community has been hit with the loss of key venues and pressure on remaining ones to meet demand. It is evident there has been a financial and psychological toll - whilst things have returned to normal, change is evident. Recent WCN meetings took place in September ('Catch-up'), October (Town Centre update) and February (Urban Outreach, Rail Trails and Wingates Band 150th anniversary), May (HUB and Historical Archive) and September (WB150 Exhibition, Cultural Westhoughton) with the next meeting in December. Keep up to date with community events taking place throughout the year: Calendar. See also our Facebook Page (Westhoughton.net).

Community News and Upcoming Events

One-page summary of Westhoughton Town Centre Regeneration Project (WCN) - project background, process and what to expect (7/10/22) [PDF]. The Westhoughton Town Centre Capital Investment Project, which begain in 2019, has been progressing and last year, in line with the agreed Masterplan, 'Future Use of Civic Buildings' plans shared with Councillors ahead of Steering Group meetings. Whilst work has already begun on the Market Street (~£4m investment) (completion late 2023), details of what is to happen to the revived Town Hall and Library/Carnegie Hall (~£3.5m investment) have been taking shape, with work on the Town Hall phase to begin later in 2023. WCN has been involved in this process, sharing information with groups and the wider community, this information is available here >> Town Centre Regeneration.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - The arrival of the Covid-19, concerns about health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, and Government advice on 'Social Distancing' meant that community groups were obliged to take action to limit exposure to the virus. As a result, with venues out of action, many groups and their activities had to be suspended; albeit with some interactions able to take place virtually via Zoom. This of course has had a big impact on community life, valuable social interactions and local sport. The story, impact and information about the Lockdown and virus (including links to Government data) can now be found here.

Meetings of community groups and activities are have resumed at The Hub, the John Holt Centre and other locations. Some venues are no longer available or are out of action, and some groups, such as Women of Westhoughton (WOW) and the George Formby Society have new homes for their activities (see info pages).

  • Both local amateur dramatic groups are back working on productions, in September 2021 Westhoughton Methodist ADS had its first sell-out show since its 2019 pantomime, a Murder Mystery followed by its Panto run 'Sleeping Beauty' taking place in February; there was a new Murder Mystery in April. September 2022 saw two new short plays 'Rhyme for Reason' and 'Alright on the Night', with a Murder Mystery 'Who Killed the Pop Star?' taking place 21st & 22nd October. Note with the Church merging with The Bethel and becoming Cornerstone Church the drama group has become Cornerstone ADS.
    Meanwhile, following the closure of the Bethel Church, the Bethel Crowd AODS is currently looking for a suitable venue for performances. It was using Daisy Hill FC clubhouse for rehearsing and was able to re-establish itself by putting on a Murder Mystery there in April (2022); in September the Bethel Crowd took its musical revue show 'You Still Can't Stop The Beat' to St James's C of E High School in Farnworth. Currently rehearsals take place at The HUB.
  • Wingates Brass Band returned to Westhoughton for a special live concert performance with an early evening 3-set concert at Westhoughton Cricket Club back in August, and continue to rehearse, perform and even make the odd video for their followers. They now have a new Musical Director, Andrea Price, and are performing and competing. website.
  • 'At Home' Open Day Conference at Westhoughton High School, Sat 14 May (flyer). Westhoughton Local History Group had been holding guest speaker events via Zoom on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. They have been back for their (3rd) Thursday morning meetings since last October, although due to the prolonged closure of the Library for maintenance work they are currently using The Hub on Central Drive for monthly meetings. A special event took place on 14th May - a Lancashire Local History Federation Conference at Westhoughton High School Details.
    On the weekend of 17/18th September WLHG join forces with Cornerstone Church in assisting the new LEP Partnership with its Heritage Open Day 2022 activities (Flyer).
  • Senior Citizens group, W.A.S.P. (Westhoughton Age Support Project), have Monday afternoon bingo & social sessions at the John Holt Centre (1:30pm). No word on the Winifred Kettle Day Centre re-opening and no Thursday evening session as yet. Unfortunately, interruptions in its schedule, loss of members and a fall in memberbership led to the group calling it a day in 2022.
  • Westhoughton Art Group started back at the John Holt Centre for its weekly art classes - 9:30am to 12:30pm.
  • See North West Counties First Division football season at New Sirs - Daisy Hill FC, with a new Chairman, some new signings, and a refurbished clubhouse.
  • Change of venue for George Formby Society monthly (last Wednesday from 7:30pm) ukulele playing and a singsong. In 2023 the venue changed again - the sessions taking place at Cornerstone Church.
  • Popular Ladies social group Women of Westhoughton (WOW) is now based at the John Holt Centre (unless on an outing) for its weekly Thursday evening programme (7:00pm).
  • Friends of Eatock Lodge will be organising more nature-oriented events now that the warmer weather is here. This local haven of nature has certainly lifted the spirits in these testing times. Daisy Hill in Bloom have been tree planting and tending to the planting and general upkeep in the village. Westhoughton Allotment and Gardening Society, a new group made up of members of local Friends groups, will be looking after and taking on responsibility for the town centre planters and displays.
  • Grade II* listed St. James Church (Daisy Hill) welcomed visitors in Church and online for its Heritage Open Days Festival in September, the Church has now recommenced its first Saturday of the month community 'drop-ins' (10am-12pm) with a Grub Tub available for Urban Outreach donations.

Community Group Fayres

Not possible in 2020 and 2021, the late Spring and Summer period always have a wide range of community events: Public Events, School Fayres, Fundays, some local events have resumed in 2022 - watch out for details here on WCN (Fayres).

In its early days a Westhoughton Community Network sub-committee started looking at group participation in joint events covering promotion, on-the-day activities and entertainment, and feeding back to the main group, 2012 saw two Community Fayres bringing together groups at public events held at Westhoughton Market - the inaugural event on 21st April and a second on 24th November. The following year a third event took place took place, Sunday, 2nd June at Westhoughton College as part of the W.A.C.O. 'It's-A-Knockout event.' In 2014, the 'Big Fun Day' took place up at Central Drive on Sunday, 1st June as part of an event involving Westhoughton College and led by Hope Church, who run the Hope (Community) Centre. Now most of the large community events will have had a WCN involvement, and facilitated individual community groups participating in events.

The summer of 2015 saw a brand new event launched to add a splash of colour and fun to the town centre, the 'Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival', led by Rainbow Crafts, which place over the weekend of 4th/5th July. A tremendous success and showcase for the community - a credit to organisers and all those involved in knitting the excellent yarn displays. Some great entertainment too from local talent. Further events have followed in subsequent years.

2016 also saw the return of the popular W.A.C.O. event on Sunday, 22nd May, this time raising money to support the Westhoughton Youth Project and local groups, with a madcap team event, attractions, and community involvement. The event was even bigger when it returned 2017 (late May Bank Holiday), with many thousands turning up to see this mix of competition, attractions, entertainment and community stalls.

In recent years the Family Funday at Eatock Lodge, the Barking Berrys Fun Dog Shows and Howfenbury became popular and essential events on the Westhoughton calendar. Hopefully we will see these return in the not too distant future following the enforced hiatus in 2020 and 2021.

Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival 2015 - Cowyed legend celebrated in wool W.A.C.O. It's-A-Knockout event 2016
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 24th November 2011 - Westhoughton Art Group stall Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 24th November 2012 - Bethel Crowd stall
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 2nd June 2013 - Westhoughton Methodist ADS stall Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Community Queens at Big Fun Day
Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Football Competition Presentation at Big Fun Day Westhoughton Community Network Fayre 1st June 2014 - Crowds out in force at Big Fun Day

The strength of WCN is that we are seeing more and more co-operation between groups to help, support and work together on events and activities. Groups coming together for events whether WCN-led or piggy-backing on group-led events, giving a sense of community, friendship and belonging. The tradition of the Westhoughton Carnival living on in new forms.

It is pleasing to see the influence of WCN spreading beyond Westhoughton with the rise of local community group networks around Bolton raising awareness of what is going on locally. In late 2014, near neighbour Horwich had a very successful first event, bringing together some 40 groups and organisations Horwich Community Working Together flyer; and more recently a move to establish a community network in the town. Around Bolton there are fledgling networks emerging as the local council seeks to encourage community engagement including the Green Umbrella Network (2018). In our 10th year, we are happy to talk about our experience with other groups and networks.


Westhoughton Community Network Foodbank Project

Westhoughton Community Network Foodbanks initiative with Urban Outreach - 'Grub Tub' at Central Drive Community Centre As a result of our groups both coming together and identifying a cause to get behind, Westhoughton Community Network has teamed up with Urban Outreach (Bolton) on an initiative to pool resources and work together to put in place a system to collect and then distribute food to the needy in our community; the aim, with the help of volunteers, is to develop a network of collection points around Westhoughton using Community Centres, Churches, Schools… A sub-committee formed, and as a result a number of donation and collection points have been established. More information here.

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Participating Groups

Local Amenities

Photos & Videos

Music

Useful Links

Community Events

  • Panto: 'Rapunzel' - Bethel Crowd
    Fri 23, Sat 24* Feb (7:15pm)
    Peace Community Theatre, Rishton Lane, Bolton BL3 2BN
    Always good fun! The Bethel Crowd travel to Bolton to perform their latest Panto. *Extra matinee show Saturday 24 Feb at 2:15pm. Tickets £7.50
  • Daisy Hill Station Improvements
    March to December 2024
    As part of 'Access for All' improvements station will see changes to ticket hall and installation of a lift and toilet, as well as car park changes. £4m project. Some disruption but services continue. Details of Friends of Daisy Hill stage page -
  • History Group
    Monthly meetings - 3rd Thurs (10:30am)
    Westhoughton Library
    After a busy 2023 including the Wingates Band Story exhibition celebrating the brass bands 150th anniversary (Q323), schedule resumes with speakers and special events for this popular heritage group. Next mtg 21/3 st March - Speaker Ruth Duckworth: My Life in Cricket (Part 2)
  • Rotary Christmas Float 2023
    During December Rotary Club of Westhoughton were out and about visiting local estates and will at Sainsbury's ahead of Christmas. As well as Santa and his Rotary Elves bringing Christmas cheer to young and old, it is an important fundraiser; this year £6,249 was raised to be shared out with local community organisations. £5,640 raised and shared in 2022 - Presentation evening 20/4/23; 19 organisations receiving cheques.
  • Hub at Westhoughton
    The Hub at Westhoughton on Central Drive is home to a range of groups and activities serving the community. Information Leaflet.
  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open for books, general reading and computer access. With current refurbishment complete, community activities on both ground and upper floor have resumed. Info | Community Plans.
  • Robert Shaw / Book of Quint
    Special event with Ryan Dacko, author of 'The Book of Quint' took place at Wetherspoon's 1st July, celebrating Westhoughton-born Robert Shaw and introducing the backstory of the shark hunter from Jaws. It was a great success with people coming far and wide, leading to Amberley publishing deal.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:00pm
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. New meeting venue. Updated programme.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    Cutters season in full flow. New management, new signings and clubhouse improvements. Support your local team. KO Sat 3pm or Mon 7:45pm. £5 adults / £3 concession / £2 U18s / U12s free w/ adult.
  • Lockdown information (Covid-19)
    For 16 months life and community was disrupted by measures to deal with the pandemic. It has been a long and impactful period, thankfully things are opening up again there is a return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market Street focus) were consulted upon in 2019-20 with a Steering Group meeting to discuss plans for £4m investment and significant changes to Market Street, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council. Hope Church services take place in the Hub.
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