Wigan residents urged to help their local waterway by getting hands-on this July

A day of events to help the River Douglas flow freely is being planned for next week and the people of Wigan are being encouraged to come along and get involved.

Organised by members of the River Douglas Catchment Partnership – which includes Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, Stormwater Shepherds and United Utilities – it will take place from 10am to 3pm on Wednesday 27 July.

Meeting at Wigan Warriors Robin Park Arena and Close Brook, Marsh Green in Wigan, volunteers will be taking on a range of tasks, including litter picking, the removal of invasive species, and gardening at the community garden at the stadium. There will also be some creative play activities for the children, and a wealth of resources to find out about the importance of rivers and water efficiency.

Close Brook is a tributary of the River Douglas, and all the practical activities will help improve the water quality and the surrounding environment. The activity day is part of the partnership’s Love My River campaign, and also links to United Utilities’ Better Rivers work.

Chris Matthews, Head of Public and Community Affairs at United Utilities, said: “We are committed to playing our part in improving the rivers and waterways across the region. Better rivers means better water for us all, so hands-on community events like this are so important. Working together enables us to make a real difference to our community waterways, and also offers us the chance to remind people how they can play their part to keep our rivers healthy every single day.”

Julie Middlehurst, Assistant Director for Infrastructure and Regulatory Services said “Wigan Council is a proud partner in the Douglas Catchment Partnership, and we are delighted to be supporting this day of events around the River Douglas.

“There will be lots of chances for people of all ages to get involved and make a difference to their local environment. Local volunteers do such a fantastic job across the borough, helping to keep our environment clean and healthy.”

Mark Taylor, Head of River Conservation at Ribble Rivers Trust, said: “Our focus is on conserving and improving the River Ribble and its tributaries, which includes the River Douglas. This starts with engagement of our local communities, to help them learn more about their local rivers, the amazing wildlife they support and how, as individuals, we can all live a more river-friendly life.

“We’re delighted to be involved in United Utilities’ Eco Action Day to help raise awareness of the natural wonders of the River Douglas, and the challenges it, and all rivers, face.”

Sara Clowes, River Catchment Host from Groundwork, said: “Eco Activity Days are a brilliant example of what can be achieved when people and organisations join forces through a River Catchment Partnership.

“Problems including misconnected pipes in homes, invasive plant species and litter all affect our UK rivers and it is equally crucial that we only flush the 3 P’s down our toilets. Paper, Poo and Pee! The Groundwork CLM led Love My River programme helps people to connect with their green blue spaces and be a part of the change that needs to happen to improve our River Douglas in Wigan”

Everyone is welcome to drop in on the day at any time – you don’t need to bring anything with you but please wear suitable outdoor clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty.

In Wigan, United Utilities has committed to spending £2.5m to upgrade the sewer network to provide additional storage to reduce storm spills. This will improve 1km of Atherton Brook.

It comes as part of the company’s wider plans to spend £230m in a programme of environmental investment across the North West to improve 184km of the region’s rivers by 2025.