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Pictures: Volunteers take to streets for Big Tidy Up

PUBLISHED: 12:25 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:25 27 October 2014

Children and adults join the Clean Patrol at William Bellamy Primary School.

Children and adults join the Clean Patrol at William Bellamy Primary School.

Archant

Streets and schools across the borough are looking a lot cleaner thanks to a group of keen volunteers.

Local residents and council staff come together to tidy up and pick some litter in BarkingTown Centre. Local residents and council staff come together to tidy up and pick some litter in BarkingTown Centre.

The spruce-up is part of the Big Tidy Up, a nationwide initiative to get people doing their bit to help the environment.

“This is something we’re looking to continue.” said Jo Preston, headteacher at William Bellamy Primary School, which has been taking part in the week-long project.

“We’ve got a lot of rubbish from the building site and the field is a wind trap for things blowing onto it.”

The school has one representative from each class in its “green patrol”, a scheme set up this year to keep the school tidy.

Local residents and council staff come together to tidy up and pick some litter in BarkingTown Centre. Local residents and council staff come together to tidy up and pick some litter in BarkingTown Centre.

The green patrol has been equipped with hats, jackets and litter pickers, and will spend some of their breaktimes and lunchtimes keeping the school tidy.

“We explained what the role involved and they put themselves forward,” Jo said.

One of them is 10-year-old Gemma Gibson.

“We had to pick up litter around the school and the pond,” she told the Post, which visited the green patrol on Thursday.

“In our English lessons we also had to write a letter to the council about why we should keep our streets and parks tidy.”

Rachael Poku, seven, added: “We should all tidy up and help other people.”

The army of cleaners also included parents, teachers and Cllr Lynda Rice, a former teacher at the school.

She said: “It’s so encouraging to see children at the school taking part in the tidy up.

Juliet Ohan, right, Rachael Poku, Raydah, Connor Schwarz, and Rodney Osei-Nyarko join the Green Patrol at William Bellamy Primary School.Juliet Ohan, right, Rachael Poku, Raydah, Connor Schwarz, and Rodney Osei-Nyarko join the Green Patrol at William Bellamy Primary School.

“It’s important to get them caring about the environment from an early age.”

It isn’t just schools taking part. Volunteers from all walks of life gathered in Barking Town Centre and Abbey Green for a Big Tidy-Up event on Friday, while the Heathlands Centre, the Gascoigne and Great Fields also benefited from the work of volunteers.

Rodrigo Ponce-Ortuno is part of the borough’s waste minimisation team. “We’ve run cleaning events before,” he explained, “but this is the first time we’re doing it in the Big Tidy Up week.

“We had more than 200 people take part, which was great, and we hope to run more events like this in the future.”


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