A community group from Nottinghamshire came as runners up in the BBC Radio Make a Difference awards for its exceptional work in Bulwell.
The Little Litter Pickers of Nottingham were nominated for the Together category of the awards back in April 2022 before attending the event and coming in the top three in September.
Event organiser, Toni Robinson, from Bulwell, Nottingham, started the group during the pandemic when she and her son Bailey, seven, decided to reduce their carbon footprint.
She said: “We started off by watching Our Planet and Sir David Attenborough, and then we saw an elderly lady litter picking up and down our street.
“We used to watch her from our window!”
Miss Robinson, 31, was delighted to have even been considered for the award, let alone to have made it as a finalist.
She said: “We’ve made such a massive difference in Bulwell and have gotten so much recognition.”
As runners up, the group also received a plaque which was completed with Miss Robinson’s name and the words “highly commended” stamped on it.
“We are doing what the council can’t.”
Toni Robinson, Litter picker organiser.
Meet ups for the group happen on the third Saturday of every month and are open to all, with all the equipment being free to use too.
Miss Robinson and her group have now expanded from just litter picking to helping the local community in other ways such as cutting down overgrown ivy.
She said: “We are doing what the council can’t.”
Alma Davies, Keep Britain Tidy ambassador and event organiser of the NG11 Nottingham Clean Champions, is another hard-working individual who is striving to keep the streets of Nottingham clean with other dedicated volunteers who help out when they can.
Ms Davies was one of the first people to join the Nottingham Clean Champions, a scheme introduced by Nottingham city council with the intention of encouraging residents to keep their local communities clean.
Since the pandemic, the NG11 group has seen a decrease in participation due to age, health, and other family commitments.
She said: “In the past it was a real social event and was an opportunity to form friendships with people while also picking litter off the streets.
“After each event there was an opportunity for a social meeting, but this has sadly lapsed.
“Hopefully in the new year regular litter events will be restarted.”
The last large event she organised and took part in was in August with Nottingham Clean Champions from Clifton east and west, Highways staff, and local Councillors.
A total of 34 helpers attended the event and managed to collect 60 bags of litter in just one hour.
Ms Davies said she believes the best way to keep Nottingham clean is by “addressing the root of the problem which is anti-social behaviour” and by going into schools to teach children how important it is to look after the environment they live in.
She further believes that the council should invest in positive marketing to encourage responsible behaviour, and that penalties for littering, fly tipping and dog fouling should be enforced and increased too.
For more information, please visit https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/cleanchampions
- Keeping the streets clean in the UK costs £699 million each year according to government statistics.
- The Green Bank establishment has estimated that the UK generates 222.2 million tonnes of total waste each year.
- You can reduce your carbon footprint by using heating controls and low energy lighting in your home, by using energy efficient appliances, and by walking or cycling to work rather than driving when possible.
- The amount of litter dropped each year in the UK has increased by 500 per cent since the 1960s.
- Almost 48 per cent of people have admitted to dropping litter in the UK.
- Every school in the UK now has the opportunity to become an eco school- a programme which encourages young people to make a positive change to our planet.