Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network Meeting
10.00 a.m. 28th April 2014 Museum of Wigan Life

Present:
Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage)
Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), John O'Neill (Greenheart), Glenys McClellan & Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Kath Godfrey (Conservation Volunteers), David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Alex Miller (WLCT)


Apologies:
Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Tom Price & Peter Taylor (Civic Trust), Jan Johnston (LENDF), Dave Wilson (Leigh Ornithological Society), Lynda Jackson (WLCT).

Avis Freeman chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

Minutes of Last Meeting: The deadline for the essay competition was given as December 1st but it should be October 3rs, otherwise true and accurate.

Matters Arising:

None

Possibilities Regarding the Community Investment Fund:

There was a long discussion regarding the role of the Network since the abandonment of the Local Area Agreement system and the priority for the wider public to engage in service provision as a result of the cuts to Council's budget by central government.

There is an article regarding the CIF in the current issue of Borough Life (pages 24 - 25) although some areas have not received a copy yet.

Glenys reported that Trust In Leigh, one of the successful applicants to last year's CIF, intend giving support to community groups, initially in Leigh but perhaps eventually extending to cover the Borough. There is a meeting on the 16th of May from 12.30 to 2.00 for interested parties. It would appear that Trust In Leigh is attempting to replace some of the services previously provided by CVS.

Ken said that the Network should not be regarded as barrier for any other organisation operating within the Borough.

Kath pointed out that the reduction in council's budget means that Council will be more reliant on community support, which should strengthen the community's hand in negotiating with Council.

Alex sees no reason why the Network shouldn't be able to help shape policy regarding heritage and the environment.

Peter underlined the fact that the role for the Network in the governance structure no longer exists and therefore the Network is unable to perform one of the main functions it was established to provide.

John commented that In addition to being part of the governance structure, the Network's remit is to be an umbrella organisation to support and encourage individuals and groups involved with heritage and environmental issues. One of many ways we do that is by formally thanking those engaged at the presentation evening.

Health is a priority for Wigan Borough. Statistics show we are below the national average. The Network contributes to Health indirectly in many ways but perhaps could focus more in that particular regard.

The question remains, should the Network henceforth focus on providing a service to Council, in light of present circumstances, or should the Network continue as before, as an umbrella group for those engaged in Heritage and Environmental issues.

Avis suggested that we invite James Winterbottom to the next meeting for further clarification and advice.

Due to the length of this discussion, there was no time for Members Reports or AOB

Date & Time Next Two Meetings:

The next two meetings will be June 16th, Museum of Wigan Life, subject to confirmation and July 14th Greenslate Community Farm.