OVER the past four weeks an army of volunteers have removed a whopping 212 large bags of rubbish from across Barrow.

ZEST Community Action Group have been picking up all sorts of waste from disposable BBQs to dog fowl, all in the name of making positive change throughout the community.

After receiving funding from the Barrow Community Trust of £2535, almost 100 volunteers over the last month have picked up a litter stick and got to work scouring the streets, rivers and alley ways for a full scale clean-up.

ZEST group director Elaine Roberts said: “Without public engagement we wouldn’t be able to clean up the Barrow area.

“Volunteers are crucial to what we’d like to achieve, which is a greener Barrow.

“Over the past month we’ve worked with Moorfield Learning Centre, who helped us clear north Walney beach.

“We were invited to a community litter pick by Sacred Heart Catholic Primary and Nursery School, which was great as it’s important to get children to start taking pride in this beautiful area.

“We worked with Archie Workman who clears drains for six parish councils in South Cumbria, who gave the ‘Welcome to Barrow’ signs a new lease of life, as well as cleaning the gripe off a few others dotted around the town.”

Other hot spots which the ZEST group tackled over the four-week period were the Red River walkway and Walney Promenade.

Members of the group were saddened to find an extensive amount of fly-tipped waste.

Rivers, streets and beaches were plagued with litter, furniture, vacuum cleaners, bikes, and a mass of plastic.

Ms Roberts added: “We work closely with the council to educate both the public and the youths of the town.

“We need to get through to children at an early age of how damaging littering is to our environment.

“We also educate schools about reusing unrecyclable materials, which can be used for school projects and gets the kids using their arts and crafts skills.”

ZEST board member and Ormsgill councillor, Bill McEwan said: “The group is a valuable commodity to the town.

“It is financially assisted by Barrow construction firm Harry Barker Properties and small amounts are given from The Sir John Fisher Foundation, but more funding means better resources and organisation.

“As well as picking up waste and litter, ZEST plays an important part of alleviating pressure from Barrow Borough Council, who believe me, are working at full tilt to help the people of Barrow.”