Westfield’s streets ‘would be covered in litter’ if it weren’t for a tight-knit group of volunteering litter pickers – says a city councillor.
Councillor Tony Downing, who also likes to get involved in the litter picking whenever he can, said: “They’re wonderful people and we couldn’t do it without them.”
The Westfield councillor also aids efforts to have the litter bags picked up by Amey, which is responsible for the collection of 500-600 tonnes of Sheffield’s waste each month. This is a crucial aspect to the work that the litter pickers in Sheffield carry out.
It was Coun Downing and Mike Peat, 82, Westfield, who first initiated the Westfield community’s efforts to keep the area tidy. Shortly after, the pair found others joining in as ‘people wanted to get involved’, said Coun Downing.
He added that he feels a responsibility as councillor to set an example through his participation in the weekly litter picks.
Mr Peat, who has been litter picking in the area for nearly six years, said: “It’s a good way of finding out what happens in the community.
“I also hope it gives the impression that Westfield cares about their environment.”
He also said he wished the whole community was ‘more aware’ of the litter issue in the Westfield area.
Mr Peat has additionally spent his time planting horse chestnut saplings in the area, a process he calls ‘Guerilla Tree Planting’.
The group have spoken of the oddities they find while cleaning up the area.
Bev Perkins, 56, who also lives in Westfield, claims she once found ’21 empty bottles of vodka’ in one day.
Money is also frequently discovered on the roadside. On finding a £5 note last Saturday, Julia Daly, 57, of Halfway, said she would donate it to Westfields Community Centre.
She added: “If it goes towards helping to keep the community tidy then that’s a worthwhile cause.”
It is believed that every year, Sheffield throws away 6,900 tonnes of litter onto the streets and into rubbish bins.
The group meets every Saturday at 9.50am outside 32 Westfield Centre, Westfield, Sheffield, S20 8ND, and usually pick until 11-11.30am. You can also get involved through the Sheffield Litter Pickers Facebook Group.