VOLUNTEERS are working together to clean up the area to ‘make a difference for people young and old’.

Members of Blackburn’s Westbury Gardens United Reformed Church have been working with Hillside Residents Association to help tidy the area.

The next stage is going to be erecting a statue opposite the church to promote children playing in the area.

It will show a little girl sat playing with a doll and will be unveiled as part of a community clean up event on Thursday, from 10am until 2pm.

The statue has been made by Gordon Mellody, chairman of the residents group, who runs arts and craft groups out of the church.

Derek Estill, member of Westbury Gardens United Reformed Church, said: “Gordon’s been instrumental in our work making improvements to the area.

“It’s a continuation of the work we’ve been doing in the church, and a tremendous amount of improvement to the area, it’s been transformed to be a lot nicer.

“It’s about local people coming together and trying to make a difference to the area.

“We’ve been working for quite some time to do this.

“We’re hoping it will encourage children to take advantage of this nice area.”

Volunteers previously painted a mural on the side of Shadsworth Infant School which depicted creation.

Plants and bushes were also planted around Westbury Gardens which are set to bloom this spring, while clean up work has been carried out in surrounding streets.

The project has been funded by money available to the groups from a ‘Big Local’ grant and they have had access to around £9,000 so far.

The community clean up event has been organised with the help of Blackburn with Darwen council for Westbury Gardens and the surrounding streets.

Mr Estill said: “It’s a good story that people in the area want to make a difference. It helps people locally, and it’s great for children.

“It’s not just about the church, it’s about all people young and old coming together to help in the area.

“It’s about time someone tried to make a difference.”

The group have also been working with pupils from St Anthony’s RC Primary School and Shadsworth Infant School on a variety of arts and crafts project.

Future projects for the group include plans to make improvements to the church building.