A new prayer shelter at Pleasington Cemetery will soon be open, allowing families to respectfully say goodbye to their loved ones at the most sensitive time.
Replacing the existing prayer shelter that is no longer fit for purpose due to size and disrepair, the borough will welcome the opening of the new shelter that’s set for completion mid-April 2023.
The current Muslim burial section at Pleasington Cemetery is almost full, and the need for a new shelter has been made even more urgent by the impact of the pandemic, causing a significant increase in excess deaths in our Muslim community.
Approved by the Council in March 2022, the prayer shelter is located in a new part of the cemetery, meaning that mourners will no longer have to walk the half a mile distance from one area of the cemetery to another for prayers and burials.
There has also been new signage created and spaces marked out to highlight the new parking bays and larger car park, helping to alleviate traffic flow.
Cllr Phil Riley, Leader of the Council, said:
Whilst we are aware that costs have unfortunately gone up due to extreme and unprecedented inflation, the new prayer shelter still remains a necessity. Every funeral service, of any religion, or no religion, is deserving of dignity and its own separate area for mourners and we continue to make this possible for all of our residents.
The new prayer shelter will include toilets, a small kitchen and a heating system and will open out to the new section of the Muslim cemetery, eliminating the need for long and unnecessary walks when mourners are saying final goodbyes.
Cllr Quesir Mahmood, Executive Member for Growth, said:
We’re so pleased to see this new shelter open, meeting the concerns of many residents and creating a more dignified area for final goodbyes at Pleasington Cemetery.
The old shelter was in a bad state of disrepair, with mourners left to stand in puddles of water, and we don’t think it is right to make anyone mourning walk such a long way.
Funerals are a hugely emotional time and we hope the location of the new shelter helps alleviate some previous difficulties posed, so families can focus on saying farewell.
The new shelter will also remove the potential of significant crowds moving through the cemetery and potentially disturbing other ongoing services.
Cllr Shaukat Hussain, Deputy Executive Member for Environment, said:
The prayer shelter will be a fantastic new addition to what is already a brilliant facility within Blackburn with Darwen.
Pleasington Cemetery is a staple of the borough and residents, of all faiths and races, have been laying family and loved ones to rest there for many years.
This new shelter will provide many more years, giving residents the easiest and most respectful service possible at a time of great sadness.