A COMMUNITY is being given the unique chance to decide how £1 million can be spent improving its area.

A meeting has been organised tomorrow night after Tonge with The Haulgh was allocated the cash by the Big Lottery.

Residents ranging from schoolchildren to pensioners are encouraged to attend the event, which is being chaired by a Big Local Steering Group and supported by Bolton at Home.

After compiling a profile of the area and conducting a wide public consultation, the group has identified five broad areas to invest in.

It now wants the public to come forward with specific suggestions as to how the money can be spent over the next 10 years, with the first projects to be rolled out early next year.

Bolton Council applied for the funding for Tonge with The Haulgh because of the area’s proactive residents’ groups.

Dave Morgan, a resident and member of the steering group, said: “It is very idealistic and a great idea but untried.

“This is how it should be — I have a very strong personal commitment to people trying things for themselves.

“I do believe that people will not be told what to do, particularly by people better off than themselves.”

The group discovered Tonge with The Haulgh has among the highest levels of respiratory illness and asthma in Bolton, and Mr Morgan said health and encouraging people to exercise more was a big priority.

Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s executive member and Labour councillor for Tonge with The Haulgh, said: “The great thing about the Big Lottery is it’s not council-led or police-led, it’s residents-led.

"The £1 million that has come from the Big Lottery is just the start and it tends to bring on additional funding.

“People and organisations might match-fund the initiatives to make them better.

“It is brilliant for the area and there will be some really good projects.”

The five objectives earmarked for the cash include more jobs, improved parks, promoting healthier lifestyles, better facilities for young people and extra community groups.

The event is at the Fusion Centre, Connaught Square, Tonge Moor between 5.30pm and 7pm, with refreshments including hotpot and chilli available.