Residents in and around Homer Street in Balsall Heath saw a green army of children tackling two issues close to their hearts this August following a call to arms by local residents Christina Pinero Maese and her husband Louie. As part of a Balsall Heath wide aim to tackle the issue of litter the group were one of the first to make use of the ‘Big Tidy Up’ initiative, a national campaign set up and run by Keep Britain Tidy.
Despite a typical wet summer’s day and a deluge of rain the young people turned out in force to pick litter. The second issue that they tackled was that of speeding motorists. Armed with signs and banners the children made passing motorists aware of the need to reduce speed. Organisers Christina and Louie have since carried out several more litter picking sessions with the help of their neighbours and aim to continue the fight to keep their neighbourhood clean.
The push to combat an increase in litter throughout Balsall Heath began earlier in the year as the result of a special tasking meeting held to look at ways of tackling an issue raised at residents’ group meetings. Neighbourhood manager Pat Wing said, “We’re seeing more and more residents wanting their neighbourhoods to be kept permanently clean and the ‘Big Tidy Up’ helps them show they care and spreads the message.” Any group can apply to the national ‘Big Tidy Up’ campaign for a pack which includes litter pickers, vests and other useful things to help any group carry out a litter pick exercise.
Residents of Homer Street recently became the first recipients of a recycled bin to help in their fight against litter. A recent donation of 20 bins to the Balsall Heath Forum which have been decorated to make them stand out will be finding homes throughout Balsall Heath as part of a wider campaign to combat litter.
Beating the Blight
Abdullah Rehman, Capacity Builder at the Balsall Heath Forum commented, “We knew there was an issue that needed tackling throughout Balsall Heath due to the number of times it was coming up for discussion at meetings and in general conversation. More and more groups have begun to take action with young people at the forefront.” Now through a joined up approach, local neighbourhood wardens, the police, housing associations and numerous other agencies are joining together to push for a unified approach to tackling litter and other antisocial behaviour.
If anyone else is interested in getting the Big Clean up Pack to get a litter pick started then visit www.thebigtidyup.org and order your pack. The Balsall Heath Forum would be interested to know how you get on wherever it is that you live.