The official launch of an organisation showcasing how youth organisations come together to support young people has taken place.

The Young Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) Foundation brought together more than 140 members and young people in a collective mission to empower and promote services that support children and young people in BwD.

The event was held at BwD Youth Zone as part of Youth Work Week celebrations.

Youth Work Week is an annual celebration and is hosted by the National Youth Agency.

Executive board member for children’s services at the council, Cllr Julie Gunn, who spoke at the event, said: "It was my absolute pleasure to be at the launch of the new Young BwD which also coincided with national youth work week and the great work we do in all of our spaces and places.

"It was clear to see the strong partnership in youth providers across the borough that were represented during the evening.

"I really love being part of a young person led event and it’s always brilliant to see them involved.

"Thank you also to our partners for showcasing the fantastic youth work that is provided in BwD to give children and young people so many opportunities."

Lancashire Telegraph: As well as a wide range of activities including music, art and sport, there was also a chance to hear about the new Young People’s Foundation development.

"Young BwD" is a new infrastructure organisation formed by the members of the Strategic Youth Alliance, and supported by the National Young People's Foundation Charity.

It is a vibrant cross-sector partnership that highlights the incredible work being done in many "places and spaces".

Martin Hartley-Smith, CEO of the Young BwD Foundation, said: "We were one of the first 10 nationally to join our services.

"Blackburn with Darwen has been held up as an innovative model because it is a new foundation and due to the way we have set this up, the National Young People's Foundation want to use the same processes and positives to roll it out wider.

"I was really proud to see our 11 organisations working together to do amazing work and my role now is how do I turn that in to 22 BwD organisations to support and help even more young people going forward."

Lancashire Telegraph: The new organisation will also lead on a local strategy and funding commitment to ensure the sector continues to grow and build on the recent Youth Investment Fund successes where over £8 million has been secured to rebuild/renovate a number of youth venues across the borough.

The night included Youth Work Week videos, commitments from senior youth sector leads, speeches from the National Youth Agency and a visit from Blackburn Rovers first team player Harry Pickering.

Justin Watson from the Young People Foundation Trust also attended and said: "We support partnerships in the youth sector across the country and the reason why I attended the event was because I think it is incredibly powerful when you get a group of organisations together under one vision for children and young people.

"We know that when areas collaborate and work together children and young people benefit, so we are really excited about the future of partnership work, youth work and outcomes for young people across Blackburn with Darwen because of Young BwD Foundation."

Lancashire Telegraph: The event was being led by the young people of the Strategic Youth Alliance Forum and supported by the Strategic Youth Alliance Youth Organisations.

Zainab Shah, a BwD Youth Forum member and also standing in the Youth Elections 2024 for Youth MP, said: "I was really excited to be hosting the event alongside one of my Youth Forum members.

"We got to support and help out on the day. I have been involved for two years and this is the first time I’ve got to see all the youth organisations collaborating on an event together.

"It was really good to see things from their perspectives on the videos and also chatting to them in person."