Volunteers hit the streets to combat lockdown litter

Facemask on ground

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a surge of new volunteers from across the borough have come forward to join Cheshire East Council's waste reduction volunteer programme to help improve their local environment.

As well as educating people to understand the importance of recycling, reducing food waste and how they can compost at home, volunteers have also been working to help tackle 'lockdown littering'.

Alison Jenkins, programme coordinator for Ansa - the council's wholly-owned environmental services company - said: "It's been a challenging year for so many people and a huge portion of our new volunteers have reached out to us after they found they had lots of extra time on their hands or were left disconnected from their usual networks.

"Some joined us wanting to learn more about recycling, others wanted to share their own knowledge, but many just wanted to hit the streets to do their part to combat lockdown litter, including disposable face coverings, gloves and even surgical gowns."

Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste, added: "The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been hugely challenging for us all and so it is heartening to hear that in spite of this, people are continuing to give up their own time to help protect our environment and carry out this important work.

"I would like to thank all volunteers for their efforts and remind everyone of their own responsibility to help keep Cheshire East clean – we all have a part to play in reducing, reusing, and recycling waste."

Carol Goodwin is one of the latest recruits to have joined the programme. She said: "Seeing the disrespect to our green spaces really drove me to take part in the programme, however, it was a real opportunity for me to connect with others during Ansa's regular virtual afternoon tea sessions where volunteers come together to share ideas, advice and just connect.

"The programme has been a real spirit lifter; it feels good to be making a difference and meeting like-minded people, but the team has also supported me to take up wonderful new hobbies to benefit the environment – such as home composting."

If you would like to be part of the programme or to find out more, contact Alison by emailing: [email protected] or calling: 01270 686827.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Christopher Evans
Thursday 14th January 2021 at 6:25 pm
It is good to know that ANSA are encouraging volunteers to assist in their core function of street cleansing.

Wilmslow Town Council (WTC) took the initiative in 2014 to encourage the formation of a voluntary litter picking group. By 2015, the Wilmslow Clean Team had formed and it has been active ever since.

Funds to keep the Clean Team afloat have come from the Waitrose green token scheme, the Tesco blue token scheme, Wilmslow Town Council and Cheshire East Council (CEC). All monies are received with thanks and spent wisely.

From 2015 up until 31st Dec 2020 a grand total of 3271 bags of litter have been removed from the streets of the Parish of Wilmslow. We estimate this to be equivalent to more than 9 Tonnes of rubbished removed since 2015.

In 2019 we removed 446 bags of rubbish, however, during the time of Covid19, 01st Jan to 31st Dec 2020 the total reduced to 265 bags. No a bad result considering for much of the time solo litter picking was the only activity in town.

The Clean Team has loaned equipment to other groups for litter picking activities including the recent initiative undertaken by the Conservative Party lead by Councillor J D Potts. Through our contacts with ANSA and in conjunction with the Highways Dept. we successfully lobbied for the dual carriageway A34 to be litter picked. This should be an annual event. Here's hoping.

We have successfully requested CEC to remove fly tipped rubbish. The most recent examples are found on the CEC web site against references SR2207888 and SR 2207901. A mattress, divan and a wheelie bin etc. had been thrown from the pedestrian bridge towards the northern bound carriageway of the A34. On safety grounds a request to cage this pedestrian bridge has been made and it is hoped that the Highways Dept. will seriously consider it.

The Clean Team wishes ANSA every success in their efforts to keep the streets clean and we look forward to a continued close and fruitful working relationship with them.

On behalf of the Wilmslow Clean Team