Litter Heroes in Record Clean Up

We have revealed the four award winners recognised for their heroic efforts in our annual Spring Clean.

The winners shone in our Clean Up Scotland events which saw a record total of 45,000 people taking part.

The Spring Clean Hero Awards recognises individuals, community groups, businesses and other organisations that have made an impressive contribution to cleaning up their local communities.

The four award categories were: Next Generation Hero Award; Most Transformational Award; ‘Working Across the Ages Award’ and ’30 Days of Spring Clean’ Award.

The Next Generation Hero award for young people went to 9-year-old Marc O’Neil from Glasgow, a regular litter picker in his local Milton area. Nominated by Glasgow City Council’s Councillor Jacqueline McLaren, she said: “Marc has shown fantastic commitment with his weekly litter picks around his home in Milton. Marc’s story is an inspirational one which embodies the true meaning of community spirit. He inspires us all.”

Marc said, on receiving his award: “I really care about the street and community I live in so I like to do my bit in cleaning it up each day with my mum. I wish other people would help with my goal to keep Milton beautiful!”.

South Lanarkshire community group Friends of the Calder were the recipients of the Most Transformational Award. The group prioritise changing attitudes towards litter as well as reducing its' prevalence in the community. They host litter picking events and link with local groups, businesses and elected representatives to inspire the community to make the area cleaner and more natural.

Friends of the Calder Chairperson Susan Lindner-Kelly said, “These are people not looking for any credit – just doing the right thing. And that’s what’s so lovely about, ‘the biggest change.’ People want better for the woods and their town, so they take action to make it happen. They aren’t just complaining, they are doing and it’s quite wonderful.”

The Working Across the Ages award, recognising those that engage with participants of different age brackets, went to Dumfries and Galloway Eco Warriors. Founded by Laura Howieson, Fiona Rogerson and Lottie Glover, the group started in January 2018 and now have over 1,000 supporters. They do two Clean Ups each month that can have between 20-100 participants. They clean all over Dumfries and Galloway with a particular emphasis on the region’s great beaches.

In addition to Clean Ups they provide talks in schools and with local groups to engage young people with the issues of plastic pollution, sustainability and the impact to marine life.

Fiona Rogerson, co-founder of Dumfries and Galloway Eco-Warriors said, “The main point to the group was to clean up our coastlines but it is so much more than this. We bring communities together, promote positive mental health, exercising, and socialising whilst learning. It brings us the 'feel good factor'. We all want to make a difference - however large or small this maybe - and empower others to do the same and join us."

“We’d also like to thank Dumfries and Galloway council and all our supporters who have donated kit and supported with promotion and events.”

The first ever ’30 Days of Spring Clean’ award set the challenge of committing to a Clean Up each day in April. Ewen Cameron, from Falkirk, collected rubbish from Linlithgow, Kirkcaldy, Stirling, Dumbarton and the Falkirk Council area every day during the 30 day challenge. He has also litter-picked along both sides of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Bainsford and Grahamston.

After a successful 2018 Spring Clean event - with over 30 volunteers in Bankside taking part - Ewen set up the group Keep Bankside Beautiful which now has regular Clean Ups in the area.

On receiving his award, Ewen Cameron said: “Litter picking has many benefits – as well as helping nature and wildlife, I’ve helped myself by getting exercise and doing something outdoors which boosts my mood. It was great to meet friendly, like-minded people and connect with other litter pickers on Facebook.

“I have noticed litter in the canal which isn’t possible to reach with a regular litter picker so the vouchers will enable me to purchase a longer litter picker to overcome this problem.”

Our principal partner for the April and May events was Scotmid Cooperative. Scotmid Chief Executive John Brodie praised the winners: “Congratulations to all the Hero award winners – their efforts merit special recognition. Our core purpose is to serve our communities and improve people’s everyday lives and this initiative certainly fits our values."

"It is really pleasing to see so many people willing to go the extra mile in order to make their part of Scotland more beautiful and improve their overall local environment.”

All the heroes will be presented with a £200 gift voucher that can be redeemed at Helping Hand Environmental for litter picking equipment to support future clean up activities.

We encourage everyone to get involved in the Spring Clean in 2020.

24 July 2019

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