RESIDENTS who have been making a difference in their community have been recognised by a national award.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Your Call campaign was named Community Initiative of the Year at the UK Public Sector Awards.

Your Call is aimed at residents who want to play a bigger part in their local communities.

The council is encouraging people who are making a difference in their communities, helping groups by giving them equipment and support to organise their own events such as community clean-ups.

The council said the campaign has helped motivate residents into action and made people take responsibility.

Council leader Kate Hollern said: “It is fantastic that the work of our residents has been recognised.

“Due to the budget cuts, we have been through a difficult time and there is hard times to come.

“We can no longer provide the level of services we used to, even though the needs are still there. But I have been amazed by how our residents have stepped up to the mark and told us they would like to do more.

“From organising clean-ups to setting up sports groups to running community centres, residents have shown us that they are willing to help their local communities and we thank them for that.

“Thousands of volunteers contacted the council with ideas on how they can improve their neighbourhoods and we have supported them to enable them to do it.”

Tom Stannard, a director at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “In these challenging times, we are committed to working with residents to establish a new relationship as part of response to the unprecedented cuts we have and are facing.

“The Your Call campaign is very much at the heart of everything that the council is striving to achieve.

“The campaign has been extremely effective in motivating residents into action, galvanising community action and making people take responsibility.

“It supports our vision for the borough and reminds people that their actions and choices make a difference."