Keep Haverhill Tidy group turns its attention to the Stour Brook during Great British Spring Clean
Environmentally aware volunteers were out in Haverhill at the weekend clearing pathways and the town's waterway of detritus.
Tying in with the start of the Great British Spring Clean fortnight on Sunday, the volunteers took part in a range of activities.
Group and solo litter picks took place across the town, with another group of Keep Haverhill Tidy members completing their Level 2 Water Safety Awareness and In Water Skill Training accredited by the National Water Safety Management Programme.
This training for the newly named Stour Brook Clean Up Crew will give members the necessary knowledge and skills to safely access and clear the Stour Brook of litter - something members and the founder of Keep Haverhill Tidy and Haverhill councillor, Joe Mason, has been keen to tackle for some time.
He said: “Keep Haverhill Tidy members care passionately about their local environment and the Stour Brook has been one place we have not been able to get to until now.
“I can’t wait to see the positive impact the Stour Brook Clean Up Crew will have in cleaning up the waterway that runs through our town.
“I would like to thank the Friends of East Town Park for making this training possible.
“The training was funded using locality funding from West Suffolk (Council) and I am thrilled that we were able to make this happen.”
Stuart Ferguson, a participant in the training added: “Having lived in Haverhill all my life I spent most of my childhood playing on the river from catching stickleback to building dams and dens.
“I am passionate about wildlife and the impact we all have on the environment.
“I have wanted to clean the river for years and when this fantastic opportunity to be part of a like-minded group of people supported by Cllr Joe Mason.
“This has now moved a great step forward. After our great water awareness course at East Town Park, we will now be able to reach the parts many KHT group members can’t get to - making a difference to our town and wildlife. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
The Great British Spring Clean day began with a 10am group litter pick starting at the Leiston Centre.
The group made up of residents and Keep Haverhill Tidy members were joined by Mayor Cllr Liz Smith as well as Councillors David Smith and Margaret Marks.
It collected 15 full bin bags of waste from the area and identified multiple examples of illegal fly-tipping.
Cllr Mason added: “After a year of Covid, it was great to meet up again for a group pick and clear some waste that had built up in the community.
“Keep Haverhill Tidy members understand that there will always be some waste and that as a community we can work together to improve the appearance of our shared spaces.
“Unfortunately, there are still some people that do not yet understand the positive part that they can play in improving our environment by putting an empty crisp packet in a pocket and holding onto a bottle or can until they get home or find a bin.
“As regards fly-tipping. This continues to be a real nuisance, and we all need to be vigilant and report examples of this anti-social behaviour which blights our streets and green spaces.
“We all need to encourage and remind each other to take on a greater sense of responsibility for the waste we create, and I am grateful to Keep Haverhill Tidy members and other residents who get involved in sending out a positive message about caring for our environment and taking pride in their town.”
Cllr Liz Smith said: "It was great to see the community coming together and taking pride in their environment.
"Personally, I found it very therapeutic, especially on a nice sunny day and was encouraged by passers-by who were really interested in what we were doing.
"Obviously those that volunteer regularly do so in all weather and I have such great admiration for their commitment and determination.
"My particular thanks goes to Cllr Mason for coordinating this and getting people involved."
People interested in getting involved in litter picking are invited to join the Keep Haverhill Tidy Facebook group.