1V Institute of the Year


The 1V Institute of the Year should be an example of how a community-based organisation should be and how to successfully interact with members of all communities to make a tangible difference. They must be able to demonstrate some level of cohesion in their work, to create a more integrated Blackburn. Furthermore, they must have a track record of working with many communities in Blackburn with Darwen. Organisations that enhance the standing of their local community and town will also be considered in this category. The award is sponsored by The Wish Centre. The nominees for the 2019 award follow.

ARC Project

The ARC Project is an outreach project of the West Pennine Moor Methodist Circuit. They have worked with Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Blackburn with Darwen from Wesley Hall Methodist Church since 2004. ARC aims to create a community where those fleeing war, violence and persecution can feel safe and supported as well as getting the vital practical help they need. The main objectives of ARC is to support asylum seekers and refugees integrate into UK society, provide timely advice and support to many people who are initially desperate, confused, frightened and traumatised by the upheaval they have faced. ARC help people with job seeking, benefits, housing, disability, education and health and well-being. The Project also provides interpreters and they run free English lessons twice a week at several levels which attract on average around 40 users a week.

Better Bodies

Better Bodies Blackburn aim to provide accessible affordable fitness to everybody regardless of gender, race, sexuality or health barriers. They work to bring communities together in a comfortable and supportive environment. Taking the local sensitivities into account Better Bodies have a ladies only gym giving the discerning members complete peace of mind. Better Bodies are a family run business. They value each member and get to know them individually while providing nutritional and fitness advice drawn from over 30 years’ experience with numerous professional powerlifting and bodybuilding awards behind them including British number 1 titles. Their team of three personal trainers enables them to provide a bespoke service for their clients benefitting from different techniques. Better Bodies hold regular exercise workshops, charity fun days and health education sessions with local health professionals.

Community Spirit

Community Spirit was set up almost five years ago with the sole intention to help those less fortunate. They are a group of individuals from all walks of life, backgrounds, religions and ethnicities. They all have the same beliefs and desire to help the homeless and those in crisis within the community. The organisation receive support and donations from across the local business community and many individuals. Community Spirit run a weekly soup kitchen where each guest gets a hot meal, hot drink, sandwich/snack pack and treats. They also provide clothing, toiletries and have a resident barber who comes weekly offering free haircuts. During the winter months Community Spirit run an outreach service offering the same to their street friends. They are there to bridge the gap for those suffering homelessness or crisis and help them get some self-worth back into their everyday lives.

SWITCH- Services Which Inspire The Community Honourably

SWITCH is an organisation offering youth work provision for young people aged 8-21-years old. SWITCH provides fun activities, sports, arts, music, dance and drama as well as education and personal development programmes. The organisation has now been running for over 18 months and includes junior club sessions, senior club sessions, a girl’s only club session and a youth development programme. SWITCH provide opportunities to help young people achieve their goals, ambitions and dreams for their future. SWITCH aim to create a space that is fun yet ensuring safety and a stimulating environment for both young people and staff to grow, learn and develop. SWITCH is open for all communities within Blackburn.