Staff at a Blackburn community centre have thanked local residents for their support as it reopened its doors.

The Audley Centre, formerly Audley Sports and Community Centre, in Chester Street, had closed following a dispute with the lease holder Jamia Ghosia mosque.

The mosque has acquired the centre as part of an asset transfer from Blackburn with Darwen Council in 2016. The mosque is based directly opposite the community centre.

Since 2017, it has been run by the Audley Centre CIC, a non-profit group, which rejuvenated the centre by hosting a range of classes and events.

Earlier this month staff and centre users were greeted with a closure order on the doors with enquiries being directed to a bailiff firm.

The centre said in a statement it was ‘thrilled’ to be back open again.

It said: “Our commitment to serving the community remains unwavering, and we are excited to welcome you back.

“The centre is fully operational, and all bookings will proceed as planned. Whether you’re attending community events, weddings, health sessions, or sports activities, we’re ready to serve you.

“We sincerely apologise to the community, especially to Little Wonders Nursery and the parents who rely on their services and Access Ability who provide specialist support for young adults with disabilities providing transition into independence and employment run session for at the centre every Tuesday. 

“Your patience and understanding during this difficult time have been greatly appreciated.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who rallied behind us. Your help and concern have been instrumental in reopening the centre. Together, we can continue to create a vibrant and inclusive space for all.

“While the road has been challenging, we remain committed to serving you. Let’s move forward, united, and make the Audley Community Centre thrive once more.

“Thank you for your unwavering support.

The centre hosts community events, weddings, classes, health sessions, football, badminton and a small gym. 

A local councillor had called for the centre to be reopened as soon as possible. The council said it was aware of the closure and attempts were being made to have it reopened.

It appears though the centre had reopened after efforts by the Audley Centre CIC itself which had resolved the dispute with the mosque.