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Written by Chenise KnoxRoots Community Volunteer

On Monday 7th November we had the first Roots Community Clean-up. We started at 10am on Dickinson close in the Galligreaves estate, Blackburn and to start with we had 16 volunteers but by the end of the afternoon that increased to more than 20. Using the equipment provided to us by Blackburn with Darwen council environmental department we set out across the estate and spent 5 hours cleaning up the area; collecting a total of 44 bags.

We had in attendance bodies from Red Rose Recovery, Roots Community, SPARK, St Luke’s church, the Thomas Project, and a Public Health England commissioner too! All working together with smiles, brews and breakfast barms to fuel our work; which we ended up sharing with one of the local cats. It was such an empowering experience and we all felt great looking over what we had achieved, the estate looked fabulous at the end of the session.

The idea behind this is that through putting work into our community and contributing positively to society we can help to reduce the stigma experienced by the recovery community and improve our environment whilst connecting and building relationships. Not only this, but in volunteering our time and using it to achieve a better community not only for ourselves but everyone who lives there we build our own pride and self-esteem. It is so important within recovery and albeit within life to be part of something larger than ourselves. Humans as a species cannot thrive in isolation and solitude, and especially within recovery, when we are building new lives and finding new meaning to our existence community is key to success; to survival even. This is an opportunity to get out, do some meaningful work and show our community that people in recovery can make a positive contribution.

“You can’t change other people, but you can work on changing yourself” (Waseem, Volunteer)

The plan is to make these a weekly occurrence, grow in numbers and in a few weeks branch out to new areas in Blackburn and Darwen. If anyone is interested in getting involved, please do not hesitate to contact myself (, Rolonde Bradshaw ( or Amy Leigh Duffy ( for more information or to express your interest.