18 May 2018

A woman from Sheffield is tackling litter head-on by helping to rid communities of rubbish, one village at a time.

Geraldine Houlton from Fulwood, who until recently was a full-time carer for her elderly mum, has vowed to support Sheffield City Council’s Clean Sheffield campaign and is now on the lookout for fellow litter heroes to join her on her ten year, city-wide mission.

The Councils’ Clean Sheffield campaign, which launched in 2017, encourages people to take pride in their local areas by taking part in or organising local litter picks, as well as helping to spread the word about the importance of clearing up our city.

Targeted at businesses, community groups and individuals alike, the campaign asks people to make a pledge and help improve litter levels in their local area.

Along with her dog, Rufus, Geraldine has already taken part in a number of litter picks in her local area and is now keen to raise more awareness of litter-picking and encourage others to volunteer their time to help make a big difference to the areas where they live.

Her ten year plan includes recruiting litter heroes in different areas of the city who can then support her quest for litter-free communities.

“I see it as a jigsaw puzzle.” said Geraldine. “I want each area to have their own litter hero who will work together towards one shared goal and make a pledge to keep the road where they live litter-free.

“As well as telling family and friends about their efforts, they will proactively organise and recruit other like-minded people who want to see a real difference on our streets and local neighbourhoods.

“By recruiting volunteers one street at a time we will eventually have Litter Heroes for each and every street. I even get to colour in my map every time I recruit a fellow volunteer!

“Once we have a good group of individuals, the pieces will start to fit together and hopefully a change in behaviour will be adopted in the areas that we cover.

“It’s all our responsibility to not drop litter so that we can enjoy a clean and tidy environment. If collectively we came together to combat the areas close to where we live, eventually I see it making a real difference to litter levels in Sheffield.”

More than £4million is spent each year by Sheffield City Council clearing litter from the city’s parks and streets.

This is why the Council is once again calling on all residents and businesses to support the Clean Sheffield campaign and dispose of litter in the bins provided so that the money can be spent more wisely on other stretched services.

Cabinet advisor for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Karen Mcgowan said:

 “Sheffield’s standard of street cleaning and grounds maintenance remain high and comparable with other large UK cities. A 2017 National Highways and Transportation (NHT) survey showed that there has been a significant improvement in the cleanliness of our streets in the last five years.

“Whilst this is good news, we also recognise that there is more that could be done to support our services, during times of increased austerity.

“It’s fantastic to see that Geraldine and other residents are coming together in support of our Clean Sheffield campaign to help make a difference in their local areas. It’s really easy to get involved, whether it’s picking up litter when you see it or being part of a bigger litter-pick.”

In the last 12 months, Sheffield City Council has issued 547 fixed penalty notices for dropping litter- an average of 11 a week. Of those 574 people, 129 of them did not pay the fixed penalty and were prosecuted. Those that were prosecuted faced an average fine of £220, plus costs of £168.

To organise a litter pick in your local area visit:

www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/pollution-nuisance/organise-litter-picks.html  or contact Streets Ahead at streetsahead@sheffield.gov.uk or by calling 0114 273 4567.

The Council are also encouraging people to use the hashtag #CleanSheffield on Twitter and follow the Clean Sheffield account @Clean_Sheffield to share updates of their litter-clearing.