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Green Light in the City

Have you seen the Nottingham Clean Champions around town?

30 October 21 words: Christina Geggus
words: Adam Pickering

No ordinary neighbours, Nottingham’s Clean Champions volunteers are helping to keep your city clean. These modern day Wombles give up their spare litter picking all over the city in the hope of tidying up Nottingham and changing our approach to rubbish...

Nottingham City Council started the Clean Champions scheme to help encourage more locals to keep their neighbourhoods tidy. It’s a fast-growing initiative, with some 4,615 adult and children champions registered.

All champions are provided with free equipment to do the job. Whether you choose to pick on your own, with your family, friends or with other champions, it’s a scheme that provides everyone with an opportunity to make a difference and improve their neighbourhood.

Mapperley Ward Councillor Rosemary Healy, who’s responsible for the Clean Champions brief at Nottingham City Council, says: “Clean Champions are heroes. They are people who give up their time to go out and do something wonderful for their community and take pride in it.”

One active Clean Champion is Kate Loewenthal, who plays a key part in keeping her local area of Lenton clean. She says the group aspect of it is important: “It really makes a difference having more of us tackle the streets, and is so rewarding for us to see what we can achieve together and how clean our streets can be.”

One of the toughest challenges being faced by Nottingham Clean Champions is trying to implement a change in people’s culture, particularly in the way people dispose of their waste.

There's nothing that says that you care about your area, and you are a part of this community, than going in and trying to clean it up

Muhammad Ali, Community Officer at University of Nottingham Students’ Union who joined in on the litter pick we attended, says it is a great way for students to give something back and address the issue: “There's nothing that says that you care about your area, and you are a part of this community, than going in and trying to clean it up.”

Lisa Hampson, a PhD chemistry student from UoN and founder of the Lenton Clean Up Group, is just one of the many Clean Champions who organises regular pickups. Lisa’s pushing for more education for residents on how they can keep their areas clean and follow Nottingham’s household bin rules.

“The main thing I would like the people of Nottingham to do is manage their areas. Whether that be outside their house or road. If everyone picked up the litter they see directly outside their house, then I think every road would be clean, along with more people signing up to their local picks and being educated on how they can dispose of their household waste correctly.”

Although all this work may go unnoticed by many, the Clean Champions have already made a huge difference to Nottingham. If more get involved with such initiatives and raise awareness around the issue of litter and waste management, we might one day see a litter-free Nottingham. 

Fancy getting involved in your local litter pick? Sign up to become a Clean Champion here and make a difference to your area today.

nottinghamcity.gov.uk/cleanchampions

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