THE founder of a youth community organisation has used his own money to buy essential items for those in isolation after he was forced to close his centre due to coronavirus.

Since Thursday, Sam Ali, who runs SWITCH Youth Community Organisation in Blackburn, has visited more than 250 households to try and help as many people in genuine need as possible during the crisis.

Mr Ali said: “Unfortunately, I’ve had to close SWITCH until further notice due to the current situation.

“However, I’ve decided to use my own money and buy a load of food and essentials and donate all the items to people in need, such as those in isolation, those with special educational needs or disabilities, the elderly and single parents.

“I’ve also donated nappies and wipes to the Blackburn Birthing Centre and also food to the Blackburn Salvation Army.”

Mr Ali has been helped by other local organisations, such as Unit 2 Fitness for Women, DPM Security, Baxlar Clothing, ASF Sofa Frames LTD, H.A Upholstery and Oasis Fast Food.

Along with friend, Adam Javed, who has acted as his delivery driver, he has so far visited 256 households across Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington, Oswaldtwistle, Burnley, Bamber Bridge and Great Harwood.

Mr Ali added: “I hope everyone is okay with what they have got, I wish I could do more and I wish everyone all the best through this difficult period. I have a great passion for helping people and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped get the word out as much as possible, it’s amazing to see the support from people, wanting to help genuine people in need.

“Finally I would like to thank everyone for all the kind words, comments and the cards and letters from children and adults.

“I really appreciate it, and it brought tears to my eyes, I can’t thank you enough honestly. Every single person who has contributed in any way should be very proud and we could not have done this without any of their support.

“By doing this, and by continuing to spread the word about SWITCH we hope to inspire the next generation of people together.”

Mr Ali set up SWITCH in Blackburn in 2017. He invested his own money into SWITCH and works seven days a week with the aim of providing youth services and promoting community cohesion across the town.

In December, Switch won The Mall Blackburn and Lancashire Telegraph’s Community Christmas campaign.