Enthusiastic school children have been helping to ‘Keep Sheffield Stainless’ by taking part in a number of litter picking exercises, culminating in a big eco-summit.

Over 100 children from 10 schools joined forces at Rother Valley Country Park to help tidy up the area after holding their own litter picking events around their schools. The children also chatted about what they had already learnt about litter and recycling and shared ideas to take back to the classroom.

The summit was organised by the Streets Ahead team who are working to deliver the city’s litter campaign, Stainless Sheffield. This is the second time that the event has taken place in as many years and is one of the largest litter events the team have organised for school children.

‘Phil the Bin’, Sheffield’s anti-littering mascot, surprised the children with a visit to the park and an impromptu visit from Aston Park Green Watch fire brigade also made the day that little bit more memorable.

Cllr Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, said: “It is great to see the city’s children getting involved in these litter activities and taking real pride in their local area. The pupils involved have worked hard to improve the area around their school and have joined forces to keep our green areas litter free and reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill.

“Litter is something that is very noticeable and by educating young people to dispose of their litter responsibly we can hopefully carry the message through the generations, ensuring a better place for everyone to live in.”

The Street Cleaning Operational Manager for Streets Ahead, Sara Bradley, said: “This is the second time that we have held an eco-summit and clean-up for local schools at Rother Valley Country Park and both events have been thoroughly enjoyed by the children involved.

“Whilst the children are having fun getting together with other schools and sharing ideas, we’re also delivering an anti-littering message and by encouraging them to take care and pride in their local area, they can make a big difference to the way that the city looks.

“We hope to build on the success and repeat the eco-summit with local schools again next year.”

Helen Stokes, Headteacher of Waterthorpe Infant School, who played a part in organising the summit, said: “We planned the event to coincide with ‘Make Someone Smile Day’ as one of our aims was to make our community smile by giving something back through helping to tidy up the local environment.

“The event was a great success again and the children fed back that they had a great time. It was especially nice to bring children together from schools across the local area. The impromptu arrival of Aston Park Green Watch fire brigade made the event even more special. Children had the chance to use the fire hose and climb aboard the engine.”

Sheffield Stainless is the Streets Ahead anti-litter campaign which aims to educate residents, businesses and students to take more pride in their city and dispose of their litter responsibly, reducing the amount of litter by 30 per cent by 2017.