The campaigner who helped bring a new banking hub to a town left with no high street banks says it will make a “huge difference.”

Westhoughton has been left with no banks at all and only two post offices since the Lloyds Bank on Market Street shut in 2022.

But that will soon change with the arrival of a “banking hub” on track to be set up in August this year thanks to the persistent efforts of Lesley Monks, of the Westhoughton Assist Service.

She said: “It was just after people telling me about how much they were struggling, especially elderly and vulnerable people.

“But even business people were struggling with having no access to banks in town.”

The Bolton News: The Westhoughton Assist Service is based at the John Holt Community Centre on Birch AvenueThe Westhoughton Assist Service is based at the John Holt Community Centre on Birch Avenue (Image: Google Maps)

Ms Monks had been speaking to people in these situations thanks to her role with the Westhoughton Assist Service.

The group was originally formed at the beginning of the Covid pandemic to help people who were shielding with picking up shopping and prescriptions.

During lockdown they helped to deliver bread all over Westhoughton and have recently moved into the John Holt Community Centre on Birch Avenue.

Since the end of the pandemic, the Westhoughton Assist Service has continued to work with people all across the town.

It was after people were left without banking services, in many cases having to travel to Bolton to look for open bank branches, that Ms Monks decided to apply to Cash Access UK.

This is a service that works to bring cash and banking services to communities all around the country that would otherwise be underserved.

Ms Monks said: “Last year I applied twice and both times I was turned down.

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“But they then came back and told me that we had been accepted because of all the properties being built in Westhoughton recently.”

She added: “It really will make a huge difference because people won’t have to travel, which can be difficult for people who are elderly or who are vulnerable.

“Also not everyone has access to the internet so this means that they will be able to speak to people and see them face-to-face.”

A location for the banking hub is expected to be announced soon after its opening in summer.