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#LitterHeroes pause their festivities to clean up their river

Celebrating all our #LitterHeroes

08/01/18

Every single person who picks up litter, or encourages others not to drop it, is a #LitterHero in our eyes. But some groups, individuals and partnerships are especially inspirational. In the coming weeks, as we gear up for our #GBSpringClean, we’ll be sharing some of these stories.

The Grantham RiverCare group have been protecting and improving their local patch of river for the past 14 years – one of the earliest groups in our RiverCare project. They do around 6-8 clean-ups a year, as well as other events, surveys and spreading the word. Over these 14 busy years the group have achieved so much, with over 70 clean ups, but just one example of what makes them special is their work over the Christmas holidays.

A Christmas crisis

Whilst most of us were on our sofas, mince pie in hand, news reached the group’s leader John about damage occurring to their river.  Contractors had cut surrounding brambles, but let all these (and the accompanying litter) clog up the river. The situation was urgent - to clear the litter before it was washed further down stream. The group mobilised (i.e. put the chocolates down) and on 27 December, they were out in heavy sleet and snow rectifying the damage.

As John put it, “No matter what the weather conditions there will always be some who are prepared to brave the elements. On this occasion it was extremely cold and snowing. I am very proud to be the leader of such a dedicated and determined team of volunteers.”

Just on that single wintery day, the group removed over 46kg of litter (including a scooter, bike frame and traffic cone) and a staggering 700 plastic bottles! But not content with this massive haul, the group are trying to establish lines of communication, to make sure this littering problem doesn’t happen again.

So much more than litter …

Just like our charity, this group is about so much more than litter. They are constantly surveying and improving the biodiversity of their patch – from bats and crayfish, to bashing down the invasive Himalayan balsam that blights so many riversides. 

Working with others and the next generation of #LitterHeroes?

Whilst caring for their local patch, the group are always looking outwards – involving and inspiring others with what they do. Just one example is their local partnership with Sainsbury’s – the store provides them with refreshments and the group pulls many of their shopping trolleys from the river. It’s a win-win, the shop saves money by having their trolleys returned and the group stay happy and hydrated.

The group work with many others too, from the fire service to a local canoeist. They also involve local students, colleges and youth groups in their projects – inspiring the next generation of local #LitterHeroes.

Inspired by their story, but don’t know where to start? Anything you can do will make a difference. Solving our country’s litter problem starts with picking up a single piece.

Want to get involved? Register for our Great British Spring Clean and organise a litter pick (for your friends, neighbours, work, sports club) or join an existing event going on near you. 

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