This church has a strong presence in the diverse locality in which it is set.
The Olympic torch came through the town on Saturday 23 June 2012 ending its Blackburn leg within close proximity of the church. We had a little stall dispensing cold drinks and Halal sweets to people round about. Gordon, a local artist, had painted a wooden banner to advertise our presence. The cavalcade of police and sponsors caused great cheers and flag waving and then the torch arrived. While we waited we were able to chat to people in the crowd, and there was a very good party atmosphere. Please note that the photo of the stall is not in front of the church but a derelict boarded-up pub on the main road where this leg of the torch ended!
On Tuesday 5 June, the church was involved in a special Jubilee event. This was basically a street party for local residents held on church premises – a good job because of the weather! Church members organised lots of games, various stalls and craft tables on a jubilee theme but local residents contributed by bringing food and helping on the stalls. Gordon produced a wonderful painting of a corgi for us to try to pin on the tail.
The church Fellowship group held its own celebration on Monday 11 June with a talk about the Queen by Susan Parkinson, one of its Elders, followed by a tea.
Westbury Gardens URC was one of the founder members of Blackburn East Area Community Help (BEACH), which has played a significant part in empowering the local community. BEACH has made a number of successful bids which have brought funding and new facilities into the area.
The church supported the “Wired Up Community”, a nationally funded project to supply computers to local households and provide training in their use.
Significant amounts of regeneration money have been spent in the area to help improve the quality of life of the local residents. The area is recognised as a Community Regeneration Zone.
Recently, churches in the east of Blackburn supported the Borough’s successful application for a Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder Project; this has brought additional funding to the area.
The church has benefited from external funding to improve its security and car park area. This was obtained through a community bid in co-operation with BEACH Partnership and the Groundwork Trust.
The Church hosts visiting groups as part of the Borough’s Community Cohesion and Cultural Diversity tours.
A short Christmas Tree service is held each year and children and young people from the Judo club attend. Groups who use the church are invited to decorate a tree and attend this and other Christmas services.
BEACH sponsors a weekly Arts and Crafts group on Tuesday afternoons from 2 – 4 pm.