Chesterfield lockdown litter pick group uncover old tyres, sole of a shoe and a crisp packet from 1995 as they clean up neighbourhoods

Residents in Chesterfield have formed a litter pick up group in lockdown to help clean up neighbourhoods and uncovered old tyres, the sole of a shoe and a crisp packet from 1995 discarded in the town’s green spaces.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 1:09 pm

Katherine Johnson helped set up the Staveley and Lowgates Litter Picking Group in January this year with help of fellow administrator of their online Facebook page, Kelly Ward.

The 42-year-old from Lowgates was inspired to set up the group, which conducts two-person litter picks across the two neighbourhoods multiple times a week in line with current Covid-19 regulations, after she was shocked by the volume of litter she spotted on her daily walks.

Litter pickers have been targeting hotspots such as the Trans Pennine Trail in Chesterfield which crosses the country from Hull to Southport and the Cuckoo Way as part of their clean ups.

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Litter picks found old tyres on their clean up of the Staveley and Lowgates area.

Katherine said: "I was just noticing, having spent more time walking around the local area that particular areas, really nice green spaces that we've got available to us on our doorstep were quite litter strewn.

"There were certain hotspots we thought we could make a difference by tackling.

"The Trans Pennine trail is particularly bad between Lowgates and Poolsbrook.

"I am more aware because I am spending more time outdoors now, I've walked every day since the end of December so it would be difficult to definitely say litter has increased."

Kelly Ward (right), who is also an administrator of the litter pick group, pictured with her mother in law and fellow member Gill Ward (left).

While the group which has almost 90 members since it was founded three months ago, residents are prevented from all meeting up together to conduct mass ‘picks’ due to coronavirus rules which only permit two people from separate households to meet for exercise.

But litter pickers, who mainly find crisp packets, cans and bottles on their walks, plan to organise a large clean up event of green spaces in need of waste removal as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Katherine who admits there are a significant lack of bins in some parts of the neighbourhoods, once found the sole of somebody’s shoe along with a crisp packet dating back to 1995 as part of her picks.

"It gives you a sense of pride and if the lockdown has brought anything it is that refocusing on your local community because that is the area we have been limited too so it has restored a sense of pride for me and others involved in the group”, she added.

Katherine Johnson.

"But it is frustrating, you spend a couple of hours and although it is addicting once you get going, you go back the week after and you can see people are still dropping litter.

"We are trying to reach the younger generation because of the types of litter being dropped it suggests that there are youngsters out there that aren't quite getting the message.”

She applauded Chesterfield Borough Council for their ‘positive’ response to the collaborative litter pick group, as they armed members with bin bangs, organised rubbish collections and are in the process of giving residents pickers to collect the litter.

"They've been really good and encouraging, really enthusiastic about what we've been doing”, Katherine said.

Cans and bottles are some of the most commonly littered items.

To join the group, click here.

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The group conducts two-person picks in different areas of the neighbourhoods multiple times a week.
Chesterfield Borough Council arrange to pick up the group's bin bags of litter.