NON-MUSLIM community groups have come together once again despite the coronavirus pandemic to take part in fasting in Ramadan for one day.

Blackburn community charity One Voice invited non-Muslims to fast for a day in the sixth year of the ‘I’m not a Muslim but I will fast for one day’ challenge, which has seen nearly 1000 people take part since the start.

Ramadan is the holy Islamic month where Muslims forgo food and water between sunrise and sunset, with this year’s fasts as long as 17 and a half hours approximately.

Taking part this year so far have included, Lancashire Mind, Active Lancashire, BwD Healthy Living, Child Action North West, Secret Santa and BwD Carers Network.

Sarah Johns of BwD Healthy Living said: "My reason for choosing to fast for one day is because it really makes me appreciate what we take for granted.

“Delivering food parcels every day since the start of the pandemic has really brought home how people are struggling to access healthy nutritious food not only worldwide but also in our borough.

“I also feel that fasting alongside my Muslim colleagues is important, particularly at a time when they would otherwise be spending time with family and friends.”

Key messages promoted in the project include urging members of the community to ‘Stay at Home, Pray at home’.

Ronan McMahon of Active Lancashire said: “Now more than ever, it’s a time for understanding, empathy, sharing experiences and coming together as one."

Although the pandemic means the programme this year has been reduced, the community spirit is even stronger.

Abrar Hussain, Chairman of One Voice said: “Ramadan is the time of year when the Muslim community take time to reflect on their lives and their spirituality.

“This project started with a few people fasting as non-Muslims.

“This year, despite the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, a huge number of people are taking part from the safety of their home. This is a testament to the resounding unity in Blackburn and Darwen.”

Tommy McIlravey, Chief Executive of Lancashire Mind, said: "I’m fasting to understand what it's like for Muslim friends but to be more mindful of what it's like not to have instant access to food and water."

Phil Boulding from Secret Santa added: "I'm extremely proud to participate. Simply by joining in with various religions and cultures, we can see there are more things that unite us than separate us."