Plymouth litter-picking group ready to team up with local schools thanks to GWR grant

Ross Tibbles
Ross Tibbles

A project to clean up communities across Plymouth and the South Hams has received a further boost from Great Western Railway.

Last year the train operator gave £7,500 to help litter-picking group Clean Our Patch CIC, deliver safe, cleaning walking routes to and from Plymouth, Devonport, Keyham, Dockyard, St Budeaux Ferry Road and St Budeaux Victoria Road stations.

Now GWR has awarded a grant of £12,000 to enable Clean Our Patch to engage with 104 schools in Plymouth, with the aim of having them all involved in its litter-picking programme by 2026.

As part of GWR’s franchise agreement with the Department for Transport, the train operator is committed to supporting schools, colleges, community and other not-for-profit organisations by aiding a number of initiatives.

Clean Our Patch CIC was formed in March 2018 and has since collected more than 29,000 bags of litter from across the city.

Its programme involves supplying litter picking equipment and delivering educational workshops to primary, secondary and SEND schools that support the curriculum.

Group founders Ash Samuels and El Clarke said: “Having launched our schools programme in January, 2021, we have already successfully recruited 12 schools, one of them being an SEN provision.

‘This has been completed on an entirely voluntary basis. We are extremely grateful for this latest funding from GWR, which will ensure a further 12 schools come on board by June, 2022.

‘We estimate this funding will help collect 10 tonnes of litter in communities serviced by Plymouth’s train stations and depots.

‘There is not only an environmental benefit, but a wider benefit to the community, enabling local residents to take direct action to improve where they live.”

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard said: “Clean our Patch do such fantastic work across Plymouth collecting thousands and thousands of bags of rubbish.

‘This grant from GWR will allow them to roll out their programme to even more schools in our city.
Everybody wants to see cleaner streets, and it’s great to see GWR encouraging community pride in Plymothians from a young age.”

GWR Community Manager Emma Morris commented: “We have a specific pot of money designed to help support schools, colleges and community or other not-for-profit organisations.

‘Clean Our Patch CIC has already shown that litter picking has the capacity to develop a community ethos that builds a brighter future for everyone and it’s lots of fun.”

To find out more about Clean Our Patch CIC please visit its Facebook group.

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