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 eleventh 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. Last summer things began to return to normal and over the following weeks and months we have seen activities resume, and venues re-opening and serving the community. Our regular gatherings were hit, with no or limited opportunity to get together. Some groups turned to virtual meetings and social activities (Zoom). Some groups have folded, and the community has been hit with the loss of key venues and pressure on remaining ones to meet demand. There has been a financial and psychological toll - it may take some time to fully return to normal. WCN gatherings are still to resume their quarterly cycle of community updates and information sharing. Keep up to date with community events taking place throughout the year: Calendar | Fayres. See also our Facebook Page (Westhoughton.net).

Wilf Dillon R.I.P.

Wilf Dillon - W.A.S.P. Bingo at the Winifred Kettle.One of the stalwarts of the Westhoughton Community has passed away, aged 99. Wilf was instrumental in the setting up of W.A.S.P. (Westhoughton Age Support Project), an O.A.P. social group, and was its Treasurer and Events Organiser until last year. A lovely and charming gentleman, he was much loved and respected, with a colourful history… involved in World War II, having a successful catering business (which counted royalty as customers), and then upon retiring being actively involved and at the vanguard of community life.

Recognised by the Catholic Church with a Benemerenti Medal in 2013 for being a key parishioner and fundraiser for building the new Sacred Heart Church, then by The Queen in her 2012 Her Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Birthday Honours, awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Elderly People in Westhoughton, Lancashire, and recently by Westhoughton with a Civic Award from the Town Council in 2020 for decades of service to the community.

In his later years his life was explored by local writers as he featured in articles about his colourful and varied life. Wilf was modest man, yet proud of his achievements, and in particular his independence as he grew older. A man with a definite joy of life and community. Certainly not one to be daunted by life's adversities and challenges. His smiling face gracing any meeting or event.

We as a community are greatly saddened by his loss and naturally pass on our condolences to his family - as well as to his W.A.S.P. family. He will be greatly missed but fondly remembered.

Funeral Arrangements:
Requiescat in Pace
The Requiem Mass for Mr. Wilf Dillon, BEM, will be celebrated at Sacred Heart RC Church on Monday 8th August, beginning 10:45am, prior to Committal at Howe Bridge Crematorium, 12noon. The Mass will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

Community News and Upcoming Events

The Westhoughton Town Centre Capital Investment Project, which begain in 2019, has been progressing and recently the 'Future Use of Civic Buildings' review has been shared with Councillors ahead of the Steering Group meeting. Whilst work has already begun on the town centre (~£4m investment), details of what is to happen to the Town Hall and Library/Carnegie Hall (~£2.5m investment) are now taking shape. 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 has 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. And coming soon - two new short plays 'Rhyme for Reason' and 'Alright on the Night' 9th/10th September. 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 is currently using Daisy Hill FC clubhouse for rehearsing and was able to re-establish itself by putting on a Murder Mystery there in April; in September (22nd-24th) the Bethel Crowd takes its musical revue show 'You Still Can't Stop The Beat' to St James's C of E High School in Farnworth.
  • 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 hope to be competing in the British Open Championships Grand Shield in October. Info.
  • '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.
  • 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.
  • 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, now meeting monthly (last Wednesday from 7:30pm) at Westhoughton Conservative Club for some ukulele playing and a singsong.
  • 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


Useful Links

Community Events

  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open again for books, general reading and computer access. Some activities downstairs, but with refurbishment still ongoing upstairs access for community activities will remain closed for time being. Info | Community Plans.
  • Summer of Fun #HAF2022
    Summer Holidays
    Programme of activities (25/7 to 2/9) for children. Many free, some a small charge. Extended sessions for children of all ages at various locations. #HAF2022 Info | Westhoughton.
  • Eatock Lodge Conservation
    Sun 7 Aug (10am-2pm)
    Bolton Conservation Volunteers on site to do some conservation and maintenance tasks at Local Nature Reserve. Supervised, helpers welcome with help with clearing overgrown hill area and create dead-hedges for wildlife.
  • Senior Solutions Fair & AGM
    Fair - Sat 13 Aug (11am-1pm)
    AGM - Tues 27 Sept (2-3pm)
    Winifred Kettle Centre (BL5 2NG)
    Summer Fair to showcase and promote work of senior and carer support organisation. Stalls, food, things to entertain. Later in Sept Annual General Meeting with update of activities, Trustees reports, and plans for year ahead.
  • 'Rhyme for Reason' / 'Alright on the Night'
    Fri/Sat 9/10 Sept (7:30pm)
    Cornerstone ADS (formerly Westhoughton Methodist ADS) welcome you to an evening of two new short plays, giving all the players a chance to perform. Tkts £5 (include light refreshments). Doors 7pm.
  • You Still Can't Stop The Beat
    Thurs - Fri 22-24* Sept (2pm* / 7:15pm)
    St James's C of E High School, Farnworth (BL4 9RU)
    Soon to celebrate 50th year of performing the Bethel Crowd takes to the stage in Farnworth for a run of its musical revue show 'You Still Can't Stop The Beat'. Tkts £6. Matinee on Saturday.
  • Allotment & Gardening Society
    Thurs 21 July (7:00pm)
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Mtg of new Westhoughton volunteer group (21/4//22) aiming to take on upkeep of plants and floral displays around town centre, as well as other gardening projects. Speaker: Christopher Nightingale; Theme: Sow, Grow and Show
  • St. James Church (Daisy Hill)
    Heritage Lottery funded restoration work on the bell tower completed. Now off the 'at risk' register. Fascinating short about the project.
    1st Sat of mth (10-12) 'Open Doors' drop-in - refreshments (also Grub Tub donations) - next 6/8. Messy Church (Kids activities) - 10/9.
  • 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.
  • History Group
    Regular meetings and historical projects. Whilst library closed to community groups meetings continue at The Hub. News and updates followed by Speaker. .
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    After disruptions of recent times The Cutters are now playing again. 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.
    WCN has been providing community news and features for home game programmes >> .
  • Speaker Events
    Both and the have been holding monthly 'open' Zoom speaker events. See Facebook for details.
  • 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. Revised plan now approved.
  • New Support Services
    Two new services have commenced during Lockdown to support local community and vulnerable: Covid Assist and Westhoughton One Stop Shop.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council.
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