Last year we spent £2.7million on street cleansing and litter clearance. This is money that could be used for more important services.
So we decided to take a different approach. The feel-good-factor motivated us to create a campaign that would make everyone feel better and demonstrate that lots of little actions can make a big difference.
We wanted to celebrate the fantastic contribution that volunteers make and to say thank you for their efforts. We also wanted to grow the community of volunteers across the district and create opportunities for them and the Council to work together in tackling the problem of litter.
By doing this, we hoped to reduce litter and to make Wakefield a nicer place to live, work and visit.
We started in the spring by closing Hemsworth Lane, in Fitzwilliam so that a litter pick could take place – removing litter that had been dropped or thrown from vehicles.
In five hours, a team of 13 collected nearly 200 bags, weighing over half a tonne.
A spring clean in Wakefield
In support of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, 463 volunteers including community groups, schools, businesses and individuals spent 52 hours collecting 919 bags of litter weighing 4,052KG.
We met Grace, a nine-year-old from Pontefract who started picking up litter in her local park. We shared her inspiring story online and she became our first ever Wakefield litter hero.
In the summer, with the help of Grace and Leeds-based contemporary brass band Back Chat Brass we took to the streets of Wakefield to drum up more support for our campaign… literally.
So, what next? We’ll be working closely with Keep Britain Tidy to offer training to community groups and individual volunteers who can help to organise litter picks in their local area.
We’d love to hear from anyone interested in volunteering either on their own, in a group, from a school or business. You could volunteer once or on a regular basis – any help is greatly appreciated!