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Monday, 22 December 2014

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This is the way we cleaned up Cumbria

VOLUNTEERS from across South Cumbria donned rubber gloves to help tidy up their communities. GARETH JONES spoke to the key figures involved in The Big Clean

TRUCK loads of waste were collected as part of a week-long community clear-up.

The Big Clean was organised by the Evening Mail in conjunction with Centrica, Barrow Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and the Lake District National Park Authority.

It saw people giving up their time to help clear up their neighbourhood.

Clean-ups took place in Ormsgill, Askam, Dalton, Millom, Roose, Walney, Windermere, Bootle, Haverigg and Bowness between May 16 and May 22.

In Barrow alone, more than one-and-a-half tons of rubbish was picked up during the Big Clean.

Alan Barker, street care manager of Barrow Borough Council, said the event had been a success.

He said: “I think it went very well. I was a bit disappointed with the turnout of members of the public on the first two days, but it went up on Wednesday and Thursday then dropped a bit again on the Friday.

“The trouble with doing anything like this during the week is that it is difficult for people to give up the time to take part.

“The hope is that we have raised awareness though. I think the plan is to do this on a yearly basis, so we’d hope that year-on-year it just gets bigger and bigger.”

Mr Barker said the campaign had two main goals.

He said: “We are hoping that we have raised people’s awareness of taking their litter home when they go out or putting it in the litter bins which we provide throughout the borough.

“We also planned on getting lots of community spirit going through the event.

“I would ask all community groups that if they haven’t planned on doing a litter pick, then to seriously think about doing one, as we would be able offer support to these events.”

Jonathan Lee, publishing director of Furness Newspapers, which publishes the Evening Mail, agreed the event had been a success.

He said: “It’s great to see so many people in different areas getting involved in the Big Clean.

“It’s also great to see the community come together as it shows what a tremendous community spirit we have in this area.

“We would like there to be an ongoing campaign now, in conjunction with an annual event to focus people’s minds on keeping their areas clean.

“This event has been all about encouraging the community to take part in their area, making the environment healthier, improving the surroundings for wildlife and to show the area in a good light for residents and visitors alike.

“Crucially, if we all take more care, then the council can spend more money on other vital services.”

The event ended this weekend with events on Walney and at three locations in the Lakes.

Walney residents turned out in force, as people of all ages gave up their Saturday to take part.

The volunteers helped to clear paths along Trent Vale and down to Walney Park, in an area where children often walk down to get to schools on the island.

Gary Bundy brought his wife Shelley and daughters Carrie and Leia to the event.

He said: “I think I was the one that suggested this site, so I’ve dragged my wife and daughters down with me.

“We often walk through this area and I often cycle down here. It is also a path that children use to get to school, so it is very important that it is clean and safe. I walked down here with my littlest one recently and she wanted to know why there was so much mess.

“I had to tell her that some people just throw their rubbish around.”

Andrew High, from Central and Hindpool Neighbourhood Management, took charge of the weekend event and thanked people for giving up their time.

He said: “It’s great to see some younger people here. Often they don’t get credit when they help out and it’s great to see them down here deciding to help out their community.

“It’s also fantastic to see the amount of people who have given up their Saturday to come down here and help out.”

Big Clean events took place in three locations across Bowness and Windermere on Saturday morning. Windermere Town Council and police community support officers organised the Winderclean litter picks at Baddeley Clock, Queen’s Park and The Glebe.

Sarah Blacow, a Windermere PCSO, helped organise the clean up at The Glebe, which was last week named as a location for an Olympic torch evening celebration in 2012.

Ms Blacow said: “I think it brings the community together and shows that we are passionate about making the best of our area for tourists and locals alike.

“Hopefully we are leading by example and encouraging more people to get involved.”

Volunteers pulled on purple rubber gloves and collected rubbish in areas around The Glebe and surrounding footpaths. Shane and Rebecca Gudgeon, of Windermere, enthusiastically joined the clean with their sons Thomas, five, and Jay, two.

The family regularly take part in organised litter picks and by themselves, in their own time.

Mr Gudgeon said: “With having two young lads living around here, we’re trying to show them a bit of what we have around us and how to keep it as nice as we can.

“We use it as a bit of a competition between me, my wife and my eldest lad.

“We make it into a bit of a game and see who can collect the most rubbish. We do it where we live just up the road.

“We just go outside once a month with the grippers and everything.”

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