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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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‘Huge’ response to Cumbria clean-up

ORGANISERS of The Big Clean are celebrating a successful 2013 after seeing a “huge response” from hundreds of clean-up volunteers during the year.

Community groups, businesses and schools donned garden gloves as they picked up litter from “grot-spots” across Barrow, Ulverston and Millom.

It was part of a community drive supported by the Evening Mail, Barrow Borough Council, South Lakeland District Council, the Lake District National Park Authority and Centrica to restore civic pride in our local area.

The Big Clean campaign launched in September, with a huge logistical operation in Barrow town centre. A team of volunteers, including police officers and councillors, cleaned streets picked by residents as in need of tidying.

On that day alone, 70 bin bags full of rubbish were collected along with skips full of fly-tipped furniture.

Since then dozens of schools and companies enrolled in the campaign, cleaning their surrounding area and green spaces. Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council both helped provide litter pickers and equipment for the scores of enthusiastic volunteers, who proudly wore official Big Clean T-shirts.

Peter Buckley, street care officer in Barrow, said he was impressed with how many residents got on board with the campaign this year.

He said: “We saw a lot more people this year get involved, which was brilliant. It has had a huge response.

“We’ve had lots of schools and groups approach us for equipment as they wanted to make a difference.

“It is brilliant that we have had so many schools take part as it is very important to get the message of looking after the environment across to children when they are young. The whole campaign is good at getting people to take pride in where they live – unfortunately, not enough people do.”

Schools which supported the Big Clean included Ulverston Victoria High School, Millom School, Chapel Street Infants and Nursery School, Greengate Infant, Nursery and Pre School and Yarlside Primary School.

An ongoing beach clean at the North Walney National Nature Reserve also saw a big increase in volunteers, after it was featured as part of the campaign.

John Watson, group leader and treasurer of Furness Waste Consortium, said: “After we were in the paper, we had a lot more people email us, asking to join.

“The project we are doing on Walney is absolutely huge so it’s great for people to commit long-term now.”

The Big Clean will return later this year, providing more opportunities for residents to take pride in their local area again.

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