Where did the idea for Community Networks come from?

The idea for ‘Community Empowerment Networks’ came from the Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy (2001).  Its aim was to try to make sure those communities and Third Sector organisations were able to take part in the decision-making processes that impact on their everyday lives.

How were they funded?

Originally the whole of the Community Empowerment Programme was funded by Central Government.  When this funding came to an end the Wigan Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) decided the work was too important to be abandoned and agreed to provide ongoing support for the core costs of the Networks themselves.

What have they achieved?

For many years Central government had looked for more community involvement in local decision-making processes.  This includes seldom-heard voices that may, in the past, have struggled to be heard.  Initially the Networks successfully represented the Community and the Third Sector voluntary organisations within the Wigan Borough Partnership and in many other partnership settings.  Acting as a means of ensuring that the Community’s views were heard and relevant communication channels were kept open.

New Ways of Working

During 2008 an in-depth consultation process took place.  It allowed all partners to reflect on the future role of the Networks.  The new strategy was adopted by the LSP Board in March 2008.  It recognised that everyone living, working and conducting business in the borough needs to be seen as part of the wider Community Network.  Our health and wellbeing; our economy and environment; our freedom of expression and belief; the future of our children, young people and families; the security and comfort of our elderly and disabled; the standard of our housing; our safety; our peace of mind………. all depend on involving local people in decisions about their own lives.

Where are we now?

Despite this, and due to a number of reasons, unfortunately most of the Networks have ceased to exist.  Borough Wide Community Network has raised funds to remain sustainable since 2010 when Local Authority funding ceased.  We have worked with Wigan Council, agencies and local business to ensure that the bridge between the community and the statutory authorities remains as strong as possible.

Borough Wide Community Network supports other organisations and groups in many ways – especially by the opportunity to raise their profile through the successful weekly newsletter and via the Third Sector Assembly. We see feeling valued and respected as the right of all local people.

If you would like any further information please feel free to:

telephone Marion or Phil on 01942 665226

or write to us at Tudor House, 8 Liverpool Road, Hindley, Wigan, WN2 3HU