COMMUNITY-spirited people from across Blackburn with Darwen came together to share ideas of how to make their neighbourhoods stronger.

Groups that have received funding through the Our Community, Our Future social integration programme were invited to the get-together, along with people who have enrolled on the borough’s community ambassadors programme.

Everyone at the event, held in Bank Top Neighbourhood Learning Centre, has shown an interest in working with other people to make a positive difference to local life.

Leader of the council, Cllr Mohammed Khan, said: “The Community Ambassadors programme has been really successful in empowering local people to take a lead on making their areas better places to live – over 70 people have signed up to take part.

“And through the Our Community, Our Future small grants fund, we have helped 26 groups and organisations to run new projects or extend their activities to bring people from different backgrounds together.

“Individually these two projects have already achieved a lot. By bringing these organisations and our community ambassadors together, we are hopeful that we can help to foster some very positive working relationships - and the impact of our social integration programme can be much greater.”

Gill Millington, from Darwen Darby and Joan Club, was at the event. The club runs a friendship club for over 50s at Derwent Hall in Darwen.

Gill said: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak to other people and find out about their projects and how they were making a difference. I would love the chance to chat to more groups in the future.”

Community ambassador Zaqera Hafejee said: “It was a fantastic evening, meeting like-minded people and being able to discuss positive ways in which we can contribute to a better community.”

The Community Ambassador programme has been running since September 2019.

It is being delivered by Spring North, in partnership with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Care Network Hub, on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, as part of the social integration programme for the borough.

One cohort has completed the 12 week programme, with two more cohorts currently running.

Our Community, Our Future is the name of Blackburn with Darwen’s social integration programme.

The three year programme, funded through the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, brings together a wide range of partners working to strengthen relationships between people from different backgrounds, to help the borough become a place where diversity is valued, and where people’s faith and cultures are understood and respected.