A FORMERLY disused piece of land has been transformed into a flourishing garden following 13 years of planning, fundraising and collaborative working.

A new community garden has been established at the heart of the Springs estate in Bury, as a hub for locals to develop skills, attend workshops about growing produce, a space to relax, and somewhere that brings people together.

The garden, located on the corner of Dorset Drive and Cornwall Drive, was the brainchild of the New Springs Community Project Group (NSCPG), who began looking for an open space in 2006. They secured the plot of land in March this year, and have been cultivating it ever since.

An official opening will be held on Saturday, when the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Trevor Holt, will cut the ribbon.

Gillian Eagle-Cooper, chairwoman of the NSCPG committee, said: "The Springs Community Garden is a great space and an asset to the estate. Not only will it provide an educational space for adults and children alike but it will provide a beautiful area for everyone. There are so many benefits to a persons mental health in an open green space."

The plot was formerly attached to a tenant's garden, but deemed too large and overlooked, and consequently went unused. NSCPG applied for a licence from Bury Council to take it over, which was granted at the start of this year.

The creation of the community space was made possible after voluntary group NSCPG secured more than £22,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, Government Pocket Parks Fund and Bury Council Social Capital Fund. These finances covered the cost of redesigning the garden, installing fencing and planting, as well as funding an ongoing programme of garden workshops, led by Manchester-based social enterprise Sow the City, to help people learn about growing their own fruit and vegetables. In recent months, young volunteers from the National Citizen Service programme and the NSCPG summer kids club have been working at the site.

Lucy Cooke, community development worker from Springs Tenant Management Co-operative (TMC) who supports the work of NSCPG, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped bring the garden together over the last few months. It has been a big collective effort and I think the finished garden is a testament to everyone’s hard work. I hope local people will join us in celebrating the opening of the garden”.

The opening will be held on Saturday between noon and 3pm. The free event promises lawn games, gardening activities and wood-fired pizzas.

For more information call Lucy Cooke on 0161 764 3375 or email springscommunityproject@btconnect.com.