Litter pick volunteers show what the Big Society is all about

HUNDREDS of volunteers were out in force at the weekend for the Big Clean Up – a district-wide war on litter coordinated by Uttlesford District Council.

Some 40 parish councils had taken advantage of an offer from the district council for free litter picking equipment and at the weekend, in 17 separate towns and parishes, parish councillors and residents gave up a few hours of their time to clean up their local areas.

Further litter picks are taking place over the next few weekends in other parishes.

As part of its Keep Uttlesford Tidy campaign, the district council supplied litter picking equipment to any parish or town council in the district that would like it. Previously, these councils had to borrow it from the district council if they wanted to carry out a litter pick.

The district council has distributed about 500 litter picking kits to parishes, which means that parish councils are now free to organise litter picking events whenever they want to.

In Saffron Walden, youngsters spent time clearing up the area around the skate park, while town councillors and others targeted different areas of town.

Over in Newport, children from Newport Primary School joined up with parish councillors to make sure their village was looking in good shape for the Spring, while in Stansted parish councillors and residents spent two days clearing up a wide area in and around the village.

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Community volunteers were out in force in Aythorpe Roding and on Monday morning there was not a piece of litter to be seen in the village.

Great Dunmow, Thaxted, Great Chesterford, Wendens Ambo and Felsted were just some of the other places where litter picks were taking place.

Leader of Uttlesford District Council Jim Ketteridge said: “The way that so many people are willing to give up some of their time in this way is simply magnificent.

“I would like to thank every single person who has been involved in the Big Clean Up – those who have already carried out litter picks and those who are doing so in the coming weeks.

“The response from the parishes really has been excellent. Everyone has a role to play in keeping the district tidy and it is commendable that so many people are willing to give up their free time to do their bit.

“There are already some parish councils that organise litter picks and hopefully with the permanent supply of this equipment, more will do so. It complements the district council’s street cleansing work and means more of the district can be tidied up more regularly.

“There is a lot of talk about the Big Society at the moment, but this is a real example of how communities can work together to make a difference to the place they live.”