Junior Neighbourhood Wardens support the Great British Spring Clean during Easter break

Southampton youngsters take part in national campaign to clean litter from local streets

Great British Spring Clean 2019

Southampton youngsters have done their bit for the community and the environment by taking part in a national campaign to collect and safely dispose of litter from local streets, parks and playgrounds.

The council’s Junior Neighbourhood Wardens (JNWs), who are all aged between seven and 12 years old, donned high-vis vests, grabbed litterpicks and filled giant black bin bags during three organised community clear-ups in Lordswood, Townhill and Northam during the Easter holiday.

In total, 60 children helped to smarten up the Southampton neighbourhoods as part of the Great British Spring Clean. They filled 180 bags – that’s over 2.5 tonnes of rubbish! They learnt about reducing their carbon footprint by working with the council’s Waste Operations Team to separate general rubbish from recyclable waste, while volunteers from Bitterne Litter Team also took part.

The rubbish – plus fly-tipped mattresses, sofas and car tyres – were then taken away and properly disposed of by Southampton City Council staff.

It wasn’t all work for the JNWs, though. The children also got to enjoy an Easter egg hunt and were rewarded for their litter-picking efforts with a chocolate Easter egg courtesy of the St Mary’s branch of Tesco. The store even sent along four members of their team to lend the JNWs a helping hand.

Over 500,000 people in the UK have pledged their support to Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean initiative. The aim of the campaign is to encourage as many people as possible to stand together and declare that litter pollution, including single-use plastic, which degrades the environment and harms wildlife, is not acceptable.

The campaign is backed by BAFTA-winning naturalist and television presenter Steve Backshall, best known for hosting the BBC’s Deadly 60. To follow the nation’s Great British Spring Clean activity, look out for the hashtags #GBSpringClean and #LitterHeroes on social media.

The Junior Neighbourhood Wardens scheme is a council-run not-for-profit community project working with over 120 children across the city on activities such as gardening, graffiti removal, litter picking, charity fundraising, and befriending and combatting loneliness locally. The scheme helps the JNWs develop a sense of pride and respect for their neighbourhood and promotes a positive image of children in the community.

Steve Smith, Service Lead for Housing & Neighbourhoods, Southampton City Council, said: “It’s incredible to see the Junior Neighbourhood Wardens give up some of their school holiday to make such a valuable contribution to their communities and this national cause. They should be commended for their hard work and for going the extra mile to make Southampton a clean and pleasant place for residents and visitors alike.”

The Junior Neighbourhood Wardens scheme provides a great way to make new friends, develop self-confidence, learn new things, have fun and be a positive role model in the community. To join, please get in touch or call 07766 508604.