Ashington community group which organises litter picks attracts hundreds of Facebook followers

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Ashington residents who have been meeting since 2020 to pick up litter in the town now have hundreds of Facebook followers.

The group started during the first lockdown with just five people, but the Ashington Community Litter Project Facebook group now has more than 300 members, and together they collected 190 bags of rubbish in February alone.

Councillor Pauline Thompson, a founding member of the group, said: “With lockdown we had this time where we could say ‘let's do this area’ or ‘let’s do that area.’”

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“We got to the stage where we realised it was making such a difference that the group has continued ever since.

The group aims to restore town pride.The group aims to restore town pride.
The group aims to restore town pride.

“It does send a message out to people that they should not be doing this.”

The group has come across some interesting items when litter picking, including somebody’s wallet and a set of false teeth.

They target areas that the county council find difficult to access or do not have the spare manpower to deal with, and Cllr Thompson feels the work is making people proud to live in Ashington.

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She said: “Because we are the beginning of the coastal area, there are visitors coming in. We have got to get out there and make it more attractive.

Before and after one of the group's litter picks.Before and after one of the group's litter picks.
Before and after one of the group's litter picks.

“It is hard to say this is what we have done, because we do not want to send out the message that the town is scruffy and neglected.

“It is a case of being there and wanting to improve things.

“We are just trying to make the environment a much better place to live in, and be proud of the town.”

Ashington Town Council has begun supporting the group, providing equipment and bin bags.

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The group began socially distanced during the pandemic.The group began socially distanced during the pandemic.
The group began socially distanced during the pandemic.

Often the group comes across incidents of fly tipping when out working, which it then reports.

Cllr Thompson said: “We need to fine more people. I do not think there are enough penalties for it.

“We are proud of Ashington. Some people have spent all their lives here.

“It sends out a message that we are not prepared to put up with it.”

The group is participating in a Great British Spring Clean campaign later this month, joining a series of litter picking events held between March 22 and 25 and encouraging the public to participate.

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