1/08/2019 - Published by


When Darwen residents got talking at a recent Community Voices event, a couple of them realised that they had lived in the same street for years, yet had never met or spoken before. They found that they had lots in common, and made a new connection. At another event in the Bank Top area of Blackburn, some people talked about different ways that they are involved in volunteering – and invited others to join them.

Community Voices events are taking place across the borough to bring local people together to discuss what it’s like to live in Blackburn with Darwen.

The events, run by the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, also provide a chance to talk about issues which are sometimes considered ‘tricky’ or ‘difficult’. People have discussed how much change there’s been in the borough over the last ten years, and how they feel about that. There have been debates about new communities moving into the borough, and other subjects to do with race, culture and belonging.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation is a charity that was founded in memory of the two boys who were tragically killed in the IRA’s bombing of Warrington in 1993.

The Foundation’s lead facilitator Mike Waite said:

“The events are a chance for everyone to speak out on key issues.  They are being run as part of the council’s social integration programme, Our Community, Our Future. Our next event has been organised with support from Blackburn YMCA’s New Beginning’s project. Everyone is welcome to come and share their views and ideas. You can register in advance – or just come along on the day and join in.”

Nicole Mason, Project Support Officer in the Our Community, Our Future team, added:

“It’s been really encouraging to see people having constructive discussions about what matters to them, and listening to other people’s views. The Peace Foundation encouraged them to consider how they can play a role in addressing anything they’d like to change, and there’s been lots of interest in elements of the social integration programme such as the Community Ambassadors courses starting in September.”

The next Community Voices is on Saturday 10 August, starting at 11 am. Discussion and activities will run until about 1 pm, and lunch will be provided. The venue is the Quaker Meeting House, Paradise Street, Blackburn, BB2 1LY.

This is one of Blackburn town centre’s ‘hidden treasures’, a historical building from the 1820s that people don’t often get the chance to see. The King Street and Feilden Street car parks are nearby.

Other Community Voices events are scheduled for September and October – click here for all the details.

The Peace Foundation is also organising ‘Youth Voices’ events for young people aged 11 to 16, with the first event taking place on Monday 5 August at the Young People’s Service Daisyfield base.

To register for any of these events, or to find out more, phone 01925 581 231 or 01254 304597, email info@peace-foundation.org.ukor follow and message the charity on Twitter@peacefoundation

The Community Voices events are part of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s social integration programme, Our Community, Our Future. This is a three-year programme which brings together a wide range of local partners working together 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.

To find out more about Our Community, Our Future, visit the Council websiteor like the Our Community, Our Future Facebook page.