The Windmill Hill Big Local are a community group based in the Windmill Hill area of Runcorn in Halton. Our team is made up of local residents, a local councillor and also representatives of Halton Borough Council, Norton Priory Museum, The Children’s Centre and Liverpool Housing Trust with support from Groundwork.

In the spring of 2012, the Big Lottery Fund announced that Windmill Hill would be given in excess of £1 million over a period of 10 years to help improve the quality of life for people living there. The Partnership is focused on helping to improve the Windmill Hill community for the residents of the estate over the next 10 years and beyond.

The Windmill Hill Big Local area includes the whole estate and matches the Windmill Hill parliamentary ward boundary. Our priorities are interwoven and improvements to one priority will also benefit others. For example, improvements to transport would also improve access to training and job opportunities; thereby increasing employability. It would reduce social isolation for those without a car and broaden access to recreational opportunities which in turn may reduce levels of anti-social behaviour within the estate. The creation of a new community hub for Windmill Hill would become a real focus for all kinds of community activity and services. Having such a venue would enable more activities to be delivered locally (especially for young people) and more groups to be established which in turn would help build community spirit and improve health and wellbeing.


“Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents to make a massive and lasting positive difference to their communities. It’s about bringing together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.”


Over the past 18 months the Windmill Hill Big Local have been talking to local people about how we can make Windmill Hill an even better place to grow-up in, live, work, play and grow old in. Our Plan is based on those conversations and reflect how residents and partner organisations can work together to make Windmill Hill the best it can be.

Our consultation process demonstrated that the ‘community’ was one of the very best things about living in Windmill Hill. When asked how long the residents had lived on the estate, comments such as “23 years”, “25 years” and even “since it was built” were not unusual to hear. Deprived communities often have transitory populations, unwilling to invest in their neighbourhood as they are looking to leave. This is not true of Windmill Hill.

A consequence of a very stable population is that ‘everybody knows everybody’. For many this was a real positive – as all family and friends lived close by, which made them feel safe and secure. Though this is undoubtedly a strength, it can also mean a tendency not to look outwards for opportunities. For some, long memories and historical differences about estate problems may still be an obstacle to working together in the future.


The Windmill Hill Big Local Partnership are committed to the Windmill Hill Vision and are keen to share their local knowledge and expertise to help support the delivery of the Plan. They understand Big Local is about building social value where local people are best placed to make choices about how to improve their environment and their quality of life.


The Windmill Hill Big Local Partnership will ensure project expenditure is focused on improving the quality of life for residents, also helping individuals and the community to flourish. This will be achieved by maximising community potential, building on existing community assets, tackling inequality and strengthening relationships between people and organisations to help build resilience.


The Windmill Hill Big Local Partnership will continue to consult and review local needs and monitor progress being made on the Plan and be vigilant in ensuing the benefit to the community is always of paramount concern.


We have engaged local residents to find out what improvements they feel are most needed.

On Transport

“We need better access to training and academic opportunities at the College. Buses to get off the estate are too expensive and don’t run at night.”

On Crime

The woods are a worry! They are not well lit.

On Youth

“Youth activities are needed, there is not a great deal for young people to do, they get bored, especially in the evenings.”

On Services

“There is a feeling of ‘missing out’, as we can’t get to other areas or access services easily. People don’t know what buses are available; services need to be better advertised.”

On Infrastructure

“As a wheelchair user, access around the estate is difficult and I can’t get to bus stops.”

On Transport

“More jobs are needed locally. Jobs are available in Widnes and Warrington but I can’t get there.”

On Communication

“It’s hard to find anything out what’s going on in Windmill Hill. We need a better awareness of the services available as many parents don’t know what’s out there”

On Youth

“Activities for teenagers are needed, especially girls.”

On Crime

“The trees need cutting right back, especially near bus stops and by people’s houses. It would help stop vandalism.”

On Transport

“Transport off the estate is a real problem. There is a real feeling of isolation, of being in a forgotten world; whoever designed the estate forgot that people get old.”

On Environment

“Dog mess is everywhere but nobody is ever fined.”

On Youth

“Build a BMX track, with someone running it to get young people involved.”