#LitterHeroes encourage others with their stories

#LitterHeroes encourage others with their stories

#LitterHeroes encourage others with their stories

Beginning with just a simple call for help, this group of #LitterHeroes goes from strength to strength and have even designed their own logo. Here, their founder Barbara shares the group’s story.

“The Tetford Volunteer Group was formed in September 2015. A grass verge in the village had reduced the footpath to a narrow strip so I asked for volunteers to help cut it back. To my amazement five people came forward. Then a hedge had become overgrown, Lincolnshire County Council Highways gave us permission to cut it and again several people came forward.

“One of the members in the group mentioned litter picking. We live in a beautiful part of the country in the Lincolnshire Wolds and all hate the rubbish tossed out of car windows. I contacted East Lindsey District Council, arranged to borrow litter sticks and was given a supply of bags for the rubbish to be collected. This time ten people came forward. After that we all caught the bug!

“Our first pick in November 2016 yielded 20 bags and assorted rubbish. We did two more picks in the winter and in January someone mentioned the GreatBritish Spring Clean so I registered our group. I contacted the council again to arrange for the equipment loan and to my horror they’d already been reserved. I then contacted local businesses to sponsor us for our kits – hi-viz vests, sticks, bag holders, gloves. To my delight six local businesses and two village residents came forward and I was able to kit out 14 volunteers.

“I had the vests printed with the names of our sponsors on the front. On the back is Tetford Volunteer Group with our logo and supported by Tetford & Salmonby Parish Council. I am a Parish Councillor, passionate about the village I live in. The Council supports us by arranging Insurance, both Public Liability and Personal Accident.

“The logo came about when I asked a neighbour, also a member of the group and a retired designer to draw a logo, similar to Keep BritainTidy’s Tidyman. Ours was to have a stick man putting litter in a bag. A local firm printed the vests for us, at reduced price. Then I wanted a couple of banners to put over “men at work” signs. We needed the signs for our Risk Assessment, a proviso of the insurers.

“So by the Spring Clean we were all set with our kits, 12 of us set out and collected 40 bags of litter, a small fridge freezer, a toilet pan and various assorted metal ware. Lots of drivers tooted, some stopped and offered their services on future picks. The Tetford Volunteer Group has now swelled to 30 members which is incredible for a small village. We’re proud of our logo - a few of the die-hards didn’t want to wear hi-viz vests – now they’re happy to do so! The core number of pickers is about 12, so there’s different and new people every pick.

“What I’d love to see would be the logo adopted nationally and other groups get involved.  We don’t just pick around our village, some areas have been seven miles away – we’re asked why? I say if other people see us they might start their own group.

“So far our group had collected over 160 bags of rubbish, tyres, loos, freezers, car valances, you name it, we’ve seen it. Every time I put out a request, people come forward. We’re currently waiting for Highways/local farmers to cut back the verges as the growth is four- foot high – as soon as they do, we’ll be out again.

“A local petrol station owner was so impressed with our work he sponsors us for £20 worth of petrol each pick. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity we’ve experienced. Sometimes I get a bit disheartened when I spot coffee cups or fast-food cartons on our newly cleaned verges – I just wish people were more thoughtful.

“The majority of our volunteers are retired, but range from doctors to musicians to company directors. It’d be nice to see some younger members of the community get involved. We’ve a new Headmaster starting at our local primary school; I might approach him once he’s settled in to start a young initiative.”

Thank you to Barbara and her group. We hope her story inspires you and shows how much can be achieved from small beginnings.