ST SILAS’ Church grounds on Preston New Road were packed with volunteers and TV crews on Tuesday, as the DIY SOS Big Build got underway for Blackburn’s Nightsafe.

Donning my hard hat, safety goggles and hi-viz, I chipped in with the other volunteers, helping to carry old furniture, radiators and other fittings from the church hall to the awaiting skips outside.

The team from DIY SOS have just nine days to carry out a mammoth task, that in reality should take six months.

Lancashire Telegraph:

By transforming the space, they’ll be providing homeless charity, Nightsafe, with an extra six beds for vulnerable youngsters in the area.

The importance of the project is undeniable, and it was evident by the amount of volunteers attending on that Tuesday morning (with more turning up throughout the day) just how much Nightsafe means to the community.

So far, the project has attracted masses of media attention, resulting in some big-named stars turning out to lend a hand.

Former Rovers hero, Colin Hendry was doing his bit, and said he planned to try and get down for as many days as he could over the next week or two.

He said: “As you can see by the skip we’re ripping things out and there’s a lot of nails and things flying around so you’ve got to be careful with what you’re doing but the more hands on deck the better really.”

There were volunteers from the East Lancashire Hospice, the Rotary Club and various other community groups, with members of the public opting to get their hands dirty to assist in completing the work by the scheduled deadline.

A detective sergeant from Lancashire Police had even used his annual leave to take part in the project.

However, as I observed the first stages of the build being carried out, and chatted with other volunteers, it became clear that more help was needed.

Nick Knowles and fellow DIY SOS team member, Mark Millar, couldn’t stress enough just how much they needed the communities of Blackburn, and the surrounding areas, to dig deep and get involved with the challenge.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Millar said: “This is enormous, I expected 180 people on site today but there’s only 76 turned up.

“We need to up the numbers, so if you know anybody out there – joiners, plasterers, carpenters, we need you on board.

“We’re really behind on trades and the ones we do have here are working at full capacity, so we need you to back us with your help.”

READ > DIY SOS: Work starts to transform Blackburn church hall

The next week or so is going to be tough for those involved, but as I soaked in the atmosphere, there was a definite buzz about the place.

Blackburn has an amazing community, with many people giving up their free time for the benefit of others in so many different ways.

And if there’s one town that can achieve something as big as this, then Blackburn is it.