Two volunteers who regularly litter pick on church grounds said they wanted to send out a message that the ‘community is united’.
Nooh Lunat and Hawa Bateman spend three hours each week together cleaning their local neighbourhood. Nooh said recently members of the local community had become concerned following an image that showed a man urinating near a Blackburn mosque with worshippers walking by.
Nooh said: “There was a lot of concern when this happened and there were people who were upset that this should happen at all in our neighbourhood. It was made worse with the fact it was near a mosque and close to a church.”
St Joseph’s Church is based opposite the Noorul Islam mosque on Audley Range.
Nooh said: “We decided this week to clean the church area and show that as a community we are united and we won’t let acts like this divide us.
“We tend do it anyway but I think after what happened it was important to send out a message of unity.”
Seventy-five-year-old Hawa goes out almost every day to litter pick. She said: “Most people are quite thankful we are doing something. Others not so much.
“There is a real pride in the community and we all want to keep things clean.”
She is one of Keep Blackburn Tidy’s oldest volunteers and the alongside Nooh also spends her time speaking to people about litter issues.
The litter outside the church
Nooh said: “It is all very well going out and cleaning the streets but I do think talking to people and letting them know how they can make a difference helps.
“It is about engaging with the community. People can see you litter picking and they must know the consequences of their own actions.
“We have issue like people using the street bins to dispose of their own household rubbish. It is important to explain that there is assistance available.”
Ahead of the Eid festival both Hawa and Nooh spent time cleaning the streets.
Nooh said: “We called it the Eid Eve litter pick. It is just way to give back to the community ahead of what is a special time for everyone.”