A group of women made their first ever visit to a mosque as part of a community integration programme.

Delivered by the training specialist Get Set Academy, and local charity FACE, the mentoring programme helps unemployed women to build social connections, grow their confidence and support one another in their journey to find lasting work.

The 16-strong group of men and women visited the Masjid E-Saliheen on Didsbury Street in Blackburn where the mentoring programme is hosted. 

They organised a tour of the mosque, showing the visitors where prayers took place and explaining what children learnt when attending the evening supplementary school.

This was followed by refreshments and a question-and-answer session, which prompted some interesting questions about challenging stereotypes and taboos.

When asked why she had attended, one participant said: “I have lived in this area for many years and I always see hundreds of children going into this building every evening; I always had this feeling inside of me that made me wonder what is going on in there. 

“Coming to this tour has really opened up my mind and has shown me that this place is like any other religious place; it’s a place where people come to find peace - and they have every right to.”

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Samir Khan, the mosque’s community engagement officer added: “It’s great to see an effort being made to tackle myths and taboos. As members of the community, it is our duty to nourish communities - to bring and keep people together. At Masjid E Saliheen, we will always put our hands forward to anyone wanting to help build a community that stands united.”

Funded through the DWP’s Integrated Communities programme, the mentoring project is open to women from the Shadsworth and Whitebirk area.

The community integration programme is supported by Job Centre Plus and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.