A group of people recovering from addiction have been busy transforming neglected land in a town centre into a thriving community garden.

Members of Roots Community, a recovery initiative led by addiction service Spark, have been tidying up land in Blackburn as part of the Guerrilla Gardening project.

Located on the corner of Canterbury Street and Wainwright Way, the Guerrilla Gardening project has been developed by Roots Community and Keep Blackburn Tidy to transform land that has been unused for a number of years.

And just six weeks into the project, the land has already been tidied into an area with bags of potential.

The long grass has been cut down, seeds have been potted and planted and plans have been thought up for how to make use of the land.

Roots Community is part of the Spark recovery collaborative and empowers those in, or seeking recovery from substance misuse by connecting like-minded people through local projects, activities and services that benefit the wider community.

Pete Johnson, a Roots Community member from Blackburn, has been working on the community gardening project for the past three weeks.

Following his long journey from addiction to recovery and discovering spirituality, Pete enjoys working hard on the community garden most Wednesdays.

He said: “It’s a great way to get invested in recovery. To give back to the community, to give back to people – it’s something I want to do forever.

“It’s a nice place to get together, enjoy your surroundings and muck in – you don’t forget where you’re from when you’re doing grassroots”.

Over the coming weeks, the volunteers will be bringing in compost bins, water butts and A-frames to help get things growing.

The teams are also using used tyres, which have been donated from local tyre shops, to create make-shift plant pots. Currently housing strawberries, blackcurrants and herbs, the tyres have really got the project off to a good start.

Roots Community team leader Rolonde Bradshaw, who heads up the project, said: “Before we started this area was an absolute wasteland. The grass was chest-high, there was rubbish everywhere. It was neglected.

“There also used to be a lot of street drinkers in the area. By us being here and doing what we’re doing, it helps us get talking. It’s always nice to be nice and it works – we get great local engagement.”

Also helping the project take shape are Tracey Padia and Jackie Floyd from Keep Blackburn Tidy.

Tracey said: “It’s all a great team effort. We’ve been working here for about six weeks now. Our plan is to take care of the land and use it to grow things we can eat.”

Jackie, a local Labour councillor who represents Billinge and Beardwood, loves volunteering with community clean-ups on her days off.

She said: “We see the potential, so we make the changes. No matter how tiny of a change you make – it makes a difference.

“This plot allows people to be outdoors together. We see opportunity in things people see as rubbish. We like working with Roots because they’re like us – they’re people who do the do.”