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Up for the cup – communities clash for football glory
Tuesday 18th November, 2008

Think it’s all over?

Well it’s only just begun for communities in four areas of Wigan that are forging stronger links thanks to the beautiful game.

The Community Improvement Project (CIP) has been working with communities in Hag Fold, Platt Bridge, Higher Folds and Ince over the past year looking at ways to bring them together and make them stronger. The project has focused on working with the people who live in these communities to improve their areas, making them cleaner, greener and safer places.

And one great way of getting everyone together has got to be the national game.
CIP project worker Shirley Johnson from Wigan Council, who came up with the idea, explains: “We started off by organising some friendly kickabouts between teams from the communities and the people working on the CIP project.

“We managed to put up some prize money for the winners, which was used to buy kit and equipment.
“From here we decided to turn it into a knockout competition between the teams from the four areas and it’s really taken off.”

The knockout competition comes to a climax on Wednesday November 26 when the teams will take to the hallowed turf at Atherton’s Laburnum Rovers ground to decide the spoils.

The CIP was jointly funded by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the Wigan Community Safety Partnership.
Borough Fire Chief John Harding has supported the initiative from the beginning.
The project has demonstrated the power of partnership working in the area, with the GAME ON Football Regeneration Project from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Kickz project from Wigan Athletic FC working with the CIP to help deliver the tournament. It has received the backing of ward councillors from the areas involved who have donated prizes for the winners. It has also received the backing of the borough’s top team Wigan Athletic.

“We are hoping that someone from Wigan Athletic will come along on the night to present the trophies to the winners,” says Shirley. “It’s been a really successful project and the football competition will be a fitting finale.

“The whole project has really helped to bring the individual communities closer together and we’re pretty sure it’s not going to end with the final whistle.

“It’s been a huge success and to use a footballing cliché you could say we’re over the moon with it all.”

The games begin at 7.30pm on Wednesday November 26 at the Laburnum Rovers ground. Members of the public are invited to come along and cheer the teams on. Admittance is free.

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