Leigh -- and Wigan -- has won almost £1million from the lottery good causes fund to be spent on developing a healthier community.

The £984,852 jackpot will be used to develop health cafes, cook and taste sessions, a walk-in complementary therapy centre and fund 10 community champions in the borough's most deprived areas.

Leigh is one of six areas in the country celebrating grants for Healthy Living Centre Initiatives totalling over £5 million which have been announced this week by the lottery's New Opportunities Fund.

The bonus will benefit residents in the Northwest Coalfield Regeneration Area, which includes chunks of Journal-land and will form part of the council's Our Healthier Borough strategic plan.

The project will be led by a consortium led by Wigan and Leigh Council for the Voluntary Sector.

Its chief executive, Elaine Schofield, said: "This is fantastic news. It will enable us to promote community based activities which will combat health inequalities.

"Most of the projects will provide added value with access to healthy living websites to enhance confidence in new technology.

"Healthy cooking sessions will help social skills and build people's ability to provide healthy meals on a budget."

The grant will also fund the training of 10 community champions who will work on a voluntary basis to increase community participation in health initiatives and take up of health services.

The project will also be encouraging local people to get involved in the development of a rolling programme of healthy neighbourhoods.

WIGAN and Leigh College has also received £75,000 from the New Opportunities Fund to help lone parents and the jobless.

The money will be used to provide information and communications technology in nine centres covering 12 deprived wards.

These will include company based centres, community centres and the college which will target single parents, those who need help with basic skills, the unemployed, people with learning difficulties and over 60s.