MEMBERS of the Muslim community collected five tonnes of food items for the Blackburn Foodbank this Christmas.

Volunteers say they were overwhelmed with the success of the campaign to gather funds and goods for the needy this festive period.

The Foodbank provides emergency food and support to local people in crisis, through working with a range of local frontline service provider organisations who act as referrers and food collection providers.

More than 20,000 food items were dropped off at the Blackburn Foodbank Warehouse by volunteers.

And community workers also collected £1,000.

Cllr Salim Sidat said: "Volunteers worked tirelessly collecting donated items from mosques and community centres throughout Blackburn during the past fortnight.

The donations mean that the most needy and deprived in our community will have a better Christmas this year.

"This goes to show that communities working together can overcome many barriers."

Joining volunteers at St Barnabas Church was the mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Cllr Zamir Khan, The Rt Revd John Goddard, Yusuf Seedat, head teacher of the Islamiyah School and Shannon Ledbetter from Blackburn Cathedral.

Mansoor Akhtar, Blackburn East Neighbourhood Manager said: "The Muslim community recognised the need to support and help local people and families in the run-up to Christmas. 

"This was part of a Your Call initiative during the time of year when the need is the greatest.

"The campaign also aimed to inspire and foster good neighbourliness, viewing one another as one community, overcoming local issues by working together and taking ownership of local initiatives Asif Mahmud of One Voice which supported the campaign said: "We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of goods that the community provided in a very short period of time.

"This is an interfaith initiative and it shows how members of all the communities can unite for the greater good."

Four hundred and fifty pounds was kindly donated by guests at the Asian Image 15th Anniversary dinner.

Blackburn with Darwen donated £310 on the day. The campaign was also supported by the Inter-Maddrassah organisation. Mosque collection points were set-up various points in the town including Jamia Masjid on Cumberland Street, Noorul Islam in Audley Range, Ghosia Masjid on Chester Street, Masjide E Sajedeen on Plane Tree Road, Troy Street Masjid and Noorani Masjid.