Helen says 'Take your pick!'

August 2, 2020 1:26 PM
By Helen Aldcroft

Take Your Pick - Milnrow Memorial Park (Milnrow & Newhey - Take Your Pick)Community spirited, magnanimous, humble… a few of the compliments that have come our way over recent months. Why? Living locally to the Ogden Reservoir area, and having two dogs, my husband and I spend a good part of each day walking the paths, lanes and old pack horse routes around the Ogden, Kitcliffe, Piethorne reservoirs and beyond. But recently, we have stopped calling them dog walks, and refer to them more as "litter picking sessions".

Back at the beginning of Lockdown, we set out one day armed to tackle the growing issue of litter that we saw developing. We filled a bin bag and a half on our normal 5 mile walk. We now carry litter pickers and plastic bags each day and every day we fill a carrier bag with bottles (plastic and glass), cans, sweet wrappers, tissues, crisp packets, the remains of picnics and take-aways, face masks, antibacterial wipes and the occasional full nappy!

Just think about it - a carrier bag full of rubbish every day for the last 4 months on the same 5 mile walk! That's a whole heap of rubbish. Yes I know we shouldn't have to pick up other people's litter but because we love the area in which we live, care about the environment and the health of wildlife etc. then we choose to do this. But that was only dealing with the litter in one locality - what about our streets, the parks etc? And why did it seem to be only us?

So there was the problem? Now what would be the solution?

Take Your Pick - Milnrow Memorial Park (Milnrow & Newhey - Take Your Pick)I have never believed that there is anything to be gained by sounding off on social media; ranting at people who do not and will never listen. It is a waste of breath and energy. And I don't believe that more bins solve the problem. Litter should just NOT be there.

I do believe that a positive, proactive response is always the best way and if a "Take 3" campaign around the coastline of the UK can raise awareness of an issue; help to clear rubbish from our beaches; share the workload by everybody just doing a little bit (i.e. picking up 3 items of litter) and perhaps shock and shame some into changing their ways; then why could we not do the same in our villages, on our hills and in our countryside?

So Milnrow and Newhey's TAKE YOUR PICK was born. I put a shout out to see if there were like-minded people locally who would be prepared to join us with sleeves rolled up and a positive attitude and form a community group to tackle the issue of liiter. We now have a Facebook group with over 50 members. Our aims are to encourage others to think about what they are doing when they drop litter; encourage more people to help us out rather than just complimenting us or being outraged about how terrible it is; and once a month, we intend to come together to tackle an identified local "grot spot".

On July 26th, 22 volunteers came together for the first time in Milnrow Memorial Park and collected a good amount of rubbish which was then collected by council services. We have further group picks planned; we are looking into funding to source our own equipment; we are looking into how we can recycle some of the litter and we are looking into how we can help educate future generations.

Join us in our mission! We also had fun! It was wonderful to feel that you were doing something good and to meet new people. Our volunteers range in age, background, experience of similar groups, interests etc. What do we have in common? We care!

So - Take Your Pick:

Take your picker with you on a walk…

Take your pick of the litter you see - perhaps just plastic bottles one day and then put them in a recycle bin.

Take your pick of the compliments that you may be given!

Take your pic-nic rubbish home with you!

Find us on Facebook - Take Your Pick!