Community spirit and a willingness to look after one another in challenging times has led to a street in Winstanley being voted as Britain’s friendliest.
Pemberton Road won an online vote and fought off competition from 200 streets across the UK to claim the coveted title after amassing roughly a third of 16,600 votes cast. To celebrate the win, new signs have been erected on the road by Wigan Council.
The competition was run by not-for-profit group In Good Company which was looking to find and highlight places in Britain showing examples of togetherness during the coronavirus lockdown.
Initially residents on the Winstanley street were blown away by making the top 10 shortlist but after other local residents, businesses in the borough and the council encouraged people to get behind the bid, eventually more than 5,000 people ended up voting them as winners.A WhatsApp group set up at the start of the lockdown has been a focal point for bringing everyone together and was created to support all of the neighbours including those self-isolating, the elderly and those who live alone.
One of the residents, Robyn Sinclair, says the street is proud to represent Wigan and the community spirit found commonly across the borough. The support we have received not just from Wigan but the entire north west has been amazing,” she said. “The award shows that we are definitely doing something right in the town.
“We couldn’t believe it when we were in third place so when the votes started to grow, we spent all weekend sharing everything on social media as part of the final push. It was a relief once it was over! Everyone is absolutely thrilled, we never even expected to come in the top 10 as that would have been amazing in itself so to first is unbelievable!
During the lockdown a whole host of activities have kept spirits high including a weekly quiz through Whatsapp, bingo, a socially distanced VE Day street party and even isolation birthdays where neighbours have sang happy birthday on their daily walk through the garden gates and left presents outside the door.
While it has been a tricky time for everyone during lockdown, Robyn says they have used the time to learn about the history of the street, previous residents and most importantly about each other and furry friends.
“We are a really mixed bag of ages and it’s a really long street so it’s fantastic that since the start of lockdown everyone has been prepared to look after each other and help out where they can,” Robyn added. At the very beginning we did not how it would affect us so having people you can count on has never been more important.”
The competition was part of the Posters for the People project, which had been organised by In Good Company to celebrate NHS workers.
The organisation’s founder Laura Wellington, said: “We have seen so many acts of generosity and compassion over the last two months, especially in local communities. We wanted to give people a chance to show off their local area and nominate a street where the residents really care for one another.
“We can’t believe how many people entered and are really excited to see Pemberton Road in all its Posters For The People glory.