Army of litter pickers praised for efforts to clean up St Helens

Every week an army of volunteers get involved in communities right across St Helens and fill orange bags with litter.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 10:04 am
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 10:06 am
Vicki Kehoe (right) with friend Karen Mason on one of their litter picks

Community litter picking has seen a flurry of activity in recent weeks and months, no doubt fuelled on by the better weather and people being out and about taking physical exercise in their local community more due to restrictions.

Many who take up litter picking do it for a number of reasons, like Vicki Kehoe a resident from Blackbrook, who explains how she got involved, “During lockdown I’ve been taking regular walks from my doorstep, and I started noticing the amount of litter on a number of my usual routes.

“It really upset me to see the number of plastic bottles, cans and food wrappers, and I thought there’s no point moaning about it if I wasn’t willing to get stuck in and help. I contacted the council and they sorted me out with bags, a litter picker, gloves, a high vis vest and went over the health and safety aspects of it, and I set to work.

“I love it now. It's really rewarding seeing the huge difference you can make in your local area. I’ve also made new friends and joined a group of other litter pickers, plus working from home, it helps get me outdoors more too and keeps me fit.”

Since lockdown St Helens Borough Council has experienced an increase in local people who want to get involved in the ‘Love Your Street’ campaign – a government-funded initiative, run by the council to help support local people and groups who want to make a difference in their neighbourhoods.

The council help by supplying the equipment, provide guidance, and do a risk assessment to enable volunteers to support the campaign. They also remove the bags and dispose of any larger items people may come across.

Coun Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: “Fly-tipping and littering is costing the borough a lot of money at a time when we are tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Litter dropping is a nuisance and destroys neighbourhoods and while I applaud the fabulous efforts by the volunteers, it would be better if everyone took pride in their neighbourhood and kept it free of rubbish in the first place.

“When residents step up and work with the council in this way it really does have a much bigger impact and allows limited resources to be allocated to where they are needed most.

“I want to thank everyone across the borough for all that they are doing to help clean up their neighbourhood. This goes to show that community spirit really is alive within St Helens Borough.”

If you’re interested in setting up a group or would like to get involved with community litter picking contact St Helens Borough Council Contact Centre online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/contactus