Shoppers in East Lancashire are being urged to support their high street this weekend, and every weekend, by taking part in a government-backed initiative.

High Street Saturday, a new campaign day being launched on March 16, is aiming to celebrate the place of high streets in local communities and people are being encouraged to do their bit and shop locally.

As part of the campaign day shoppers are asked to share their photos and messages online using the hashtag #HighStreetSaturday.

Executive Member for Regeneration and Growth at Blackburn with Darwen council, Councillor Phil Riley, said: "The High Streets are the centre of the town and when they become empty it has a negative effect and people find that distressing.

"When shops are boarded up people feel bad about it and complain, but one of the ways they can combat that is by using the facilities and shops that are on the high street.

"In Blackburn we have one of the best shopping opportunities in this part of the country and that's why it's visited by lots of people; it has a variety if shops and restaurants and bars, and there's plenty of businesses there for people to have a good day out and have an all round experience.

"Increasingly people realise that local high streets offer lots of opportunities including leisure and food and drink and we are starting to make progress in Blackburn, and if more people come and use the high street then more businesses will invest in the town, which is ultimately, what we want."

MP for Pendle, Andrew Stephenson, is also encouraging people in his constituency to shop local.

Mr Stephenson said: "High streets right across Pendle are instrumental in bringing people together – acting as a meeting place for friends and families and long supporting jobs for local people.

"But, as the retail market changes, I am encouraging people to pledge to shop locally to support the independent businesses we all know and love."