About Us

The Centre was originally built in 1997 and was managed by Wigan Council.
In 2007 it was leased to a group of local residents who formed themselves into a Registered Charity and Limited Company.

The Charity was established to provide benefit for the residents of Higher Folds in Leigh, without distinction of, sex, or of political, religious or other opinions, by associating the local authorities, voluntary organisations and the local inhabitants in the following manner to advance education for the public benefit to relieve sickness and preserve and protect good health of persons resident in the area of benefit: the advancement of education and training of young people and adults.

Our staff and volunteers all strive to ensure that our ethos of a welcoming centre for one and all is as strong today as it was when we started.

Here's a brief overview of our history.

Timeline

1988
June 23

1998 – Private Limited Company formed

1998
June 17

1999 – Registered as a Charity

June 19

1999-2007: All activities led by volunteers

2007
June 15

2007 – Building refurbished and extended by Coalfields Regeneration Trust

2008
June 20

2008-2013: BIG Lottery Reaching Communities Funding awarded.

  • Paid staff appointed to deliver activities
  • 137 people attended training courses each week to improve life chances
  •  210 people gained IT skills
  • 2,590 attendances at confidence building courses
  • 70 people each week attended exercise and healthy eating classes
2013
June 13

2013 – Completed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses course

June 28

2013- 2016 – Wigan Council Community Investment Fund Grant of £90,000 awarded

Outcomes included:

  • 106 people gained work related skills and qualifications
  • 4 new business start-ups
  • 141 people took part in sport and health activities each week
  • 112 people attended the Centre each week to reduce their isolation

117 young people attended the Centre each week, reducing youth offending on the estate.

2014
June 14

2014 – Higher Folds 2 Year Olds Nursery opened to offer early years education and generate trading income.

June 23

2014 – Hosted initial Participatory Budget project in Wigan with Greater Manchester Police and Wigan Council

2016
April 19

2016 – Hosted the Wigan Council Deal 2020 consultation event

June 30

2016 – Leigh Folds Junior Football Club for boys and girls formed

  • – 60 boys and girls ages 6-16
July 8

2016-2019 – BIG Lottery Reaching Communities Funding awarded for

  • Improving the fitness and health of local people. Over 130 each week.
  • Improving life skills and chances of employment. 31 people used our activities.
  • Reducing isolation of local residents. Over 150 each week
  • Engaging volunteers. 40+ engaged.

Click here for End of Project Review

2017
July 30

2017 – Higher Folds Nursery rated “Good” by Ofsted

September 29

2017 – “Tiny Tots” pre-Nursery sessions introduced for parents and 0-2 year olds

October 29

2017 – Wigan Council Community Investment Fund Grant of £9,400 awarded for fitness and health of local residents.

Outcomes include

  • 64 Nursery children learnt to swim
  • 14 football coaches gained level 1 and 2 coaching badges
  • 70 people attended weekly “social” walks
  • 54 people attended weekly “social” rides
  • Karate, Pilates and Yoga sessions introduced at the Community Centre
  • Lease of football pitches adjacent to the Community Centre from Wigan Council
2018
June 1

2018 – Awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service for success in engaging and employing local volunteers

2019
June 1

2019 – Hosted Local Delivery Pilot health and well-being Fun Day with Wigan Borough CCG, Wigan Council and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles. 240 attended.

July 28

2019 – Hosted the Wigan Council Deal for residents Towards 2030 event

2020
January 16

2019 – Awarded ‘Power To Change’ Funding for a community business around providing affordable food for the community.

November 23

2020 – the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We re-imagined our business to extend our Nursery for the many vulnerable children on our estate and grew our food business to look after the many families in difficulty on the Estate. Thanks to Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Power to Change, The National Lottery and Wigan Council for making this possible. Awarded funding from Coalfields Regeneration Trust to buy a newer refrigerated van to collect and deliver food for the Community Food Shop. In addition we received funding from CRT and Company Shop to buy supplies for the Shop.

2021
February 1

2021 – Awarded The National Lottery Reaching Communities Grant

To continue and develop our Community Food Business and Pre Nursery sessions for local children and parents.

Enrolled on the School for Social Entrepreneurs Community Business Trade Up Programme to grow our Community Food Business to the next level working with other similar social enterprises in the UK.

Awarded funding by Coalfields Regeneration Trust towards staff costs for the Community Food Shop.

Proudly Supported By

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The National Lottery

The main grant funders of activities at the Community Centre.  TNL have generously supported the Centre since 2007 and have worked very closely with us to ensure we continue our great work in the community. They’ve recently made a Reaching Communities grant to the Community Centre to enable us to further develop our work with pre-nursery children and their parents, help people of all ages to enhance their future employment prospects and continue the  growth of  our Community Food Shop.

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Power To Change

P2C recognised the potential and need for our Community Food and made the initial grant from the Community Business Fund to establish the business, employ local people, buy a refrigerated van, shop equipment and set us on course to succeed and offer very valuable support to local people.

This amazing support has continued and helped us grow with excellent business support from nominated mentors.

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The Coalfields Regeneration Trust

Being in a recognised coalfields area the Community Centre benefits from grants from the Trust.  During 2020/21 they have been very supportive of the Centre for the Higher Folds community.  From their generous grants we have been able to accelerate the growth and positive impact of the community food business for local people.

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Fare Share

P2C recognised the potential and need for our Community Food and made the initial grant from the Community Business Fund to establish the business, employ local people, buy a refrigerated van, shop equipment and set us on course to succeed and offer very valuable support to local people.

This amazing support has continued and helped us grow with excellent business support from nominated mentors.

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Wigan Council

The professional and advisory support of Wigan Council Early Years team has been a major factor in growing our early years nursery.  Always knowing they are on hand to steer us in the right direction assures us we are not alone as we strive to provide excellent early years education.

Other council services also work with us, notably Environmental Services around food hygiene, the Skills and Strategy team to improve employment prospects in the area and the Safeguarding Board.

The Community Business Trade Up Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in partnership with Power to Change

The Community Business Trade Up Programme is to help community businesses, social enterprises, grow their business activity to become financially self-reliant.  School for Social Enterprises has a rapidly growing network of social enterprises in the UK and abroad and uses peer networking, social enterprise groups and proven business skills to continually help community businesses grow.

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Express IT

Express IT who are constantly growing and developing our IT systems to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

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The Hook Design

Lee Whalley at The Hook Design who has taken our marketing to another level as we strive to engage with all local people and stakeholders.

Our Aims & Objectives

    • – To provide excellent early years education
    • – To improve the fitness and health of local people
    • – To improve life skills and chances of employment
    • – To address food poverty and give families and individuals access to high quality low cost food.
    • – To reduce the isolation of families and individuals
    • – To be an effective organisation

All our goals have a knock-on effect. We believe that getting early years education right can improve employment opportunities throughout the community, and reducing isolation can improve people’s health and fitness for life.

Our Values

  • Provide quality services and value for money.
  • Maintain the trust of our community, stakeholders, and board members.
  • Enable local people to grow and learn.
  • Support our staff and volunteers.
  • Deliver our services innovatively and creatively.
  • Always consider ways to improve.
  • Work sustainably and consider the environment.

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Financial Information

For more details of our financial performance please take a look at our Annual Reports and Final Accounts

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Trustees

The Higher Folds Community Centre Board is democratically elected and drawn from the local community. We collaborate with fundraisers, volunteers, local residents, and members of Wigan Council.