Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

W.A.C.O. (Westhoughton Active Communities Organisation)

About Us

Formed in 2010, and born of a desire to bring together groups by taking on a former primary school for community activities. Through much endeavour and enthusiasm, whilst dealing with the ups and downs such undertakings bring, and with the help and support given by local people and the Town Council liaising with the Borough Council, Westhoughton Active Communities Organisation - or as it's better known W.A.C.O. - came into being.

For three years W.A.C.O., and its fundraising arm Enterprise Action Unity Ltd., managed and ran the 'Communiversity' which became a base for a number of community groups, facilitating the establishment of new groups and community activities. A re-appraisal of the organisation took place in the summer of 2013, The Central Drive Community Centre and its management being taken over by Hope Church, who are the new landlords - most activities continuing as normal. EAU Ltd has been disbanded, however, W.AC.O. continues with its remit to raise funds for the community and put on community-wide events.

'It's-A-Knockout' (2017)

This year's event took place on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May (11am to 4pm) at the Central Drive playing fields next to the former Westhoughton College. The 2017 It's-A-Knockout the best attended yet, and with its mix of team competition, fun activities, funfair, stalls and entertainment, was a great success. This popular, action-packed, fun-for-all-the family event showing Westhoughton at its best. Organisers delighted with the support from the community with money raised to be used to support local community projects.

The W.A.C.O. team now looking forward to planning and organising next year's event… this will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 28th May 2018.

All enquiries regarding taking part, stalls and helping out before and on the day to Kellie McGarry - 07804 010625 | e-mail.


W.A.C.O. is a local fundraising organisation, raising money through big events such as 'It's-A-Knockout' or occasional coffee mornings, quiz nights and specific campaigns, such as 'Tyler's Wheels' in 2015 and the 'Polly Haydock Appeal' in 2016. Through its community fundraising W.A.C.O. is able to give out as grants of up to £500 to local groups to help them achieve their goals and progress projects; whilst there are grant giving rounds, applications can be made at any time.

In October 2015, the following Westhoughton groups, providing social, educational and essential activities and services, were supported with funding: 42nd Bolton and 12th Bolton Brownies (£150 each towards clothing for the girls' trips away); Friends of Daisy Hill Station (£100 to help with improvement work); Westhoughton Rangers under-12s football club (£200 a trophy and kit); Westhoughton Community Choir (£200 to help buy equipment); WAVE, ho run The John Holt Community Centre (£200 to help with repair costs); HACFRA (£100 to help fund XDC Dance Troupe) and Junior Youth Club; new group Howfen Radio (£200 for setting up costs); Westhoughton Children's Charity (£100 to continue to help local children).

All money raised is a result of local people doing fundraising activities to funds for local causes through W.A.C.O. Previously (November 2014), groups we helped were: John Holt Tots & Toddlers group, Washacre FM, Friends of Eatock Lodge, Westhoughton Community Queens, Westhoughton Rangers Under 7s FC, Hindley FC under 11s, Rainbow Crafts Group, Westhoughton Card Craft Group, White Horse Grove Group, and the Mercury Christmas Lunch for people on their own; as well as for promoting the first Rainbow Crafts Christmas Fayre (6/12/14).

In the group's first round of grants, W.A.C.O. supported all Westhoughton Primary Schools with Arts grants, helped the start-up of the Friends of Daisy Hill Station group, the Mercury Christmas Lunch, and sponsored young, local boxing champion.

Grant Forms: grants rounds take place at intervals with all Westhoughton groups welcome to apply for money raised. Contact W.A.C.O. for further information. W.A.C.O. Grant Application Form | W.A.C.O. Grant Guidance Notes.

Polly Haydock Appeal

W.A.C.O. Polly Haydock Appeal - Fundraising Raffle.Organised by Kellie McGarry, the proceeds of this special raffle went towards funding life-saving treatment for a local, young mother, Polly Haydock, who is suffering from a rare cancer that requires specialist immunotherapy treatment costing over £400,000 only available in Germany. Polly's cause has received much media attention and have received the support of comedian Peter Kay who put on a special Q&A at the Blackpool Opera House. Here in Westhoughton, the W.A.C.O team has rallied and produced a raffle with some fantastic prizes many donated by local businesses. The £5 tickets for the raffle had some great prizes including: a £1,000 top prize, a trip to Bolton Wanderers (executive box), hampers and more.

The draw (streamed live) took place at Wetherspoon's, Market Street on 21st December. After deductions (prizes, gambling licence, ticket printing and fuel) a massive £4,570 was raised and given to Polly's mum, Judith, in January. Sadly, first diagnosed in October 2015, Polly lost her battle with cancer and died 8th August 2017 at her home home in Atherton with her family. Further information visit Facebook or contact Kelly on 07804 010625.

Supporting W.A.C.O.

As with any group run by volunteers, in order to keep up with their mission of helping and supporting the community, new people are always needed to come along and contribute. Over its existence the achievements are many - supporting local groups, putting on events and getting community facilities up and running - thankfully after a hiatus to regroup in 2014, W.A.C.O., needing extra help with the workload, have been buoyed by the interest and concern [for its future] by local people. Re-invigorated, the group is to keep on making its important contribution to local life, and taking the initiative in projects and causes worthy of support. Watch out for further news and updates on the W.A.C.O. Facebook page.


Ambitious and passionate, the W.A.C.O. committee and volunteers have organised a number of high profile events to spread awareness of their activities, and inject some fun and community ethos into Westhoughton life. The first event was a Christmas Fayre at Westhoughton Market, in which Market Street was partially closed, which in spite of the weather, brought out the crowds. In three successive summers there have been 'It's-A-Knockout' events making use of the 'Communiversity' and taking over the playing fields for fun and games, stalls, and even a funfair. Recent events in 2012 and 2013, blessed with fine weather, have been great successes, bringing the local community out in their thousands.

'It's-A-Knockout' (2016)

After a 3-year hiatus, the Westhoughton incarnation of 'It's-A-Knockout' returned on Sunday, 22nd May at the Central Drive playing fields next to Westhoughton College, providing a fun-packed day and raising money for local causes. Info page and photos

The W.A.C.O. team planning and organising the event, which as well as the team-oriented, mad-cap, water and foam drama of the 'It's-a-Knockout' competition itself, the day saw funfair and other attractions, rides and entertainment; stalls from community and local businesses; food… A fun-packed day for residents and visitors to Westhoughton.

W.A.C.O. able to use £1,000 of the monies raised to support the new Bolton Lads and Girls Club Westhoughton Youth Project to help secure its future and provide for our young people a safe place to be, to meet and make friends, and to grow.

In spite of a lengthy British summer downpour in the middle of the day, It's A Knockout (2016) raised a massive £2,600; as well as supporting the Youth Project, other projects in Westhoughton will over the coming months benefit from the funding raised.

A big thanks from Kellie and Tony McGarry to all involved helping to make the event happen! It's A Knockout will return in 2017.

Previous Events and Activities

Tyler's Wheels Campaign (2015)

Tyler's Wheels W.A.C.O. fundraiser at the Mercury Hotel - Travellin' Stings entertain One of the strengths of W.A.C.O. is it ability and energy in raising awareness of local issues and causes, in 2015 the group rallied to help raise funds to provide a little boy with a specialised pushchair and equipment. Their target was to raise £2,000. The fundraising over a couple of months involving the local community, culminated with a fundraising evening at The Mercury Hotel (13/3/15 - Photos) with some great entertainment including a performance from The Travellin' Strings. The campaign, that even had the 'Tots and Toddlers' group mums doing sponsored walks, raised an incredible £4,000 - a testament to the great community spirit we have in Westhoughton. Update: Tyler got his wheels in November 2016, with the remainder of the money raised handed over to his mum Nicola.

'It's A Knockout' (2011-13)

In true carnival spirit, between 2011 and 2013, the group we're able to organise and put on very popular Community Fundays up at the college, the centrepiece being the rough and tumble fun of 70s favourite team competition It's-a-Knockout. These events which had the added attraction of funfair, stalls and other attractions, drew in 1000s of people, and were a testament to the group and volunteers involved. Whilst the 2013 event was the last one they did, there is still talk of bringing back this popular event to Westhoughton.

2013: After months of planning, an It's-a-Knockout Funday event took place on Sunday, 2nd June at the Communiversity and Central Drive playing fields. There was the mayhem of the competition as teams negotiated the sud-soaked inflatables - fun and action-packed! To compliment that, outside there was a funfair, stalls and attractions for young and old alike. Inside the college buildings, Bolton College had demonstrations and taster sessions (nail art, glitter tattoos, hand massages), as well as giving information on courses offered by the Community Learning Centre; whilst Westhoughton Community Network groups took over rooms to showcase and inform about the many and diverse activities that local community groups are involved with in their third WCN Community Fayre

W.A.C.O. It's-a-Knockout event - Sunday, 2nd June 2013

Getting in Touch

You can keep up to date with events and news by visiting the W.A.C.O. Facebook page

Back to top

Participating Groups

Local Amenities

Photos & Videos


Useful Links

Community Events

  • Craft Fair at The Bethel
    Sat 13 Oct (10-1)
    The Bethel (BL5 3DE)
    Popular craft fair raising funds for the Bethel. Variety of craft stalls, cake stalls. Refreshments. Tombola. Free entry.
  • Friends of Westhoughton Station
    Meeting Sundays from 9am, volunteer group undertake clean-up and ambient improvement work at Westhoughton Station benefiting local commuters. Excellent progress. All welcome. AGM Tues 16/10 (7:30pm), Wheatsheaf.
    . Finalists 'Community Rail Awards' 2015. Town Council 'Certificate of Achievement'. Recent clean-up
  • Hope Community Centre
    Central Drive
    Programme. Group activities and events; available for hire for community groups - also parties. 'Grub tub' available for Foodbank donations - 9:30am to 3pm on Mondays.
  • Community Choir
    Hope Centre, Central Drive
    Westhoughton Community Choir meet Monday evenings Mon 1 Oct 7:00-8:30pm. For those who like to sing and are interested in joining a choir. Informal, fun and social. Men welcome too!
  • Community Police
    Informal, confidential drop-ins held by Pcsos, chance to discuss local issues, seek advice on security & crime prevention.
    John Holt: Tues 23 Oct (9:30-11:00am)
    WH Market: Thurs 1 Nov (12-1pm)
    Information about
  • Westhoughton Poetry Group
    Thurs 25 Oct (from 2pm)
    Westhoughton Library
    Get poetic - budding Wordsworth or Pam Ayres? - monthly mtg of creative writing group. Newcomers welcome. Contribute or just listen. Free.
  • St. James DH 'Open Doors'
    Sat, 27 October (10am-12pm)
    Chance to visit church last Saturday of month for coffee, chat, contemplation. Learn about community facility plans and concert series. Book stall. Local History Group to exhibit looking for contributions to their Westhoughton After WWI project info.
  • George Formby Society
    Wed 31 Oct (from 7:30pm)
    Mercury Bolton, Manchester Road (BL5 3JP)
    Back from appearance at Royal Albert Hall before Queen. Fans of George Formby and the ukulele gather to talk, play and be entertained. Last Wed every month.
  • Westhoughton Area Forum
    Thurs 8 Nov 7:00pm (main mtg)
    Westhoughton High School
    Bolton Council run meeting and forum with Q&A session for residents touching on local issues and initiatives in the presence of councillors and officials. Drop-in session from 6:30pm.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:30pm
    Hope Centre (Central Drive) BL5 3DS
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. Updated programme.
Westhoughton Community Network @wcn_ on Twitter