A community centre and nursery dedicated to inclusion, and helping residents of all ages develop skills has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services during their 20th year.
Higher Folds Community Centre in Leigh has been open since 1998 and was nominated by an anonymous service user, which resulted in them receiving the highest level of recognition in the community sector.
The centre has previously been funded by Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund and BIG Lottery Fund to help them deliver their services and they will be formally presented with a trophy at Gorton Monastry in August.
David Rainford, centre manager said: “We’re not just a community centre, we’re a community anchor in the heart of the Higher Folds estate and we’re proud of the breadth of services we provide to help local people.
“From parenting classes to art groups for the elderly, we’re committed to providing guidance and opportunities for a range of ages.
“We successfully tackle social isolation of families needing support, provide a safe space for young people to meet and help children get ready for nursery and school. Considering the multitude of services we offer, this award is a welcome recognition of all our hard work over the last 20 years.”
Volunteers at the centre were invited to a royal garden party earlier this year as another reward for their commitment to local people.
David continued: “It’s a great compliment to have been given this award and the opportunity to go to the garden party. We wouldn’t be this successful without our volunteers so it’s a real testament to what they do.”
Overall, four groups in the borough were given the Queen’s award contributing to Greater Manchester as a region having the highest number of awarded groups across the country.
Wigan Borough’s groups include; Higher Folds Community Centre, Fur Clemt, Leigh Film Society CIC and Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust Volunteers.
Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council said: “As part of The Deal, we’re committed to working with communities and groups to help them deliver fantastic services that are so valuable to local people.
“There’s a real family feel about Wigan Borough, everybody wants to do what they can to help others and this award is proof of that ethos.
“Higher Folds Community Centre and other groups in the borough who have been honoured with this award should be extremely proud and we hope it spurs them on to continue their amazing work into the future.
“We know there are so many capable groups out there but there are also a number of people who might need a little boost to get them going. That’s why we set up The Deal for Communities Investment Fund. We want to help group’s kick-start a journey that can transform lives.”