Residents put an end to litter filled streets

Nobody wants to see their streets filled with litter. Not only does it look unsightly, it can also damage local economies as less people wish to visit for shopping and leisure activities, and it can encourage further antisocial behaviour. A group of residents in Wilmslow, Cheshire, have taken it upon themselves to make sure this doesn’t happen in their town.

Founded in 2013, the Wilmslow clean team is a group of volunteers who believe that everyone should take responsibility for their environment. They do their part by joining in with twice monthly litter picking events that help to keep Wilmslow clean and tidy.

These litter picks occur on the first Wednesday of every month plus the following Saturday. A week long big spring clean event is usually held during March, though its timing is dependent on weather conditions. This year’s ran from the 2nd to the 8th of April 2018. It consisted of four formal litter picks, plus a few independent cleans by group members on a number of streets around the town. Extra litter picking events also occur during the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competitions. The locals all want Wilmslow to looks at its best before the judging occurs.

The Wilmslow clean team also like to encourage local businesses to become involved in their litter picking efforts. After all, everyone benefits from the town being cleaner, as more people are drawn to spend time in a cleaner, more welcoming environment. Representatives of Holiday Inn and Q Hotels have been regular attendees at litter picks, and these businesses have also been known to help out with the provision of equipment. The Yorkshire Building Society also joined in with this year’s Spring Clean activities.

In addition to their hard work cleaning up the streets, members of the team also liaise with local schools. They educate the children about the problem of litter, and they encourage them to take responsibility for their environment, instilling values in the younger generation that will hopefully remain as they grow to adulthood. They recently visited Gorsey Bank Primary School, and hope to visit other local schools in the future.

Strict guidelines are in place to ensure that everyone involved in the litter picking remains safe while they’re cleaning up the town. These include rules such as: always wear hi-viz jackets; use the provided hoop and litter picking stick to collect rubbish, not hands; collect only on roads with footpaths and ensure they’re public rights of way, not private property.

The group provide all of the insurance and training requirements of the volunteers who join in with their litter picks, plus any equipment they need – including litter pickers, hoops, storage equipment, and hi-viz jackets. All of these costs add up. They’ve received funding from Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme and Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, but any further donations are gratefully received by the group.

In the first few months of this year alone, the Wilmslow clean team have already collected 241 bags of rubbish. Since they began their litter picking activities in 2013, they’ve collected a massive 2272 bags. It may seem like an endless job, but hopefully, as more locals come to enjoy having litter-free streets, less rubbish will be dropped in the first place.

Upcoming litter picking events are on Wednesday 2nd May 2018, when the group will be cleaning up Altrincham Road and the airport tunnels, and on Saturday 5th May, when the focus will be on the town centre. If you’re in the area, why not go along and lend a hand. New volunteers are always welcome. Check out their website for more information. You can also find them on both Twitter and Facebook.