Last year, nearly 3700 volunteers across the borough mobilised to help clear litter, leaves and large rubbish from Croydon’s streets, pavements, and parks.
In just a year, the council’s army of dedicated Street Champions grew to an impressive total of 720 as of 31 December.
These volunteers were joined by individuals and groups from all walks of life, coming together to participate in neighbourhood street tidies, park picks, and national events such as the Great British Spring Clean – a total of 753 litter picks!
Faith groups, ‘Friends of Parks’ groups, local Business Improvement Districts, independent businesses, pupils and so many more, scheduled litter-picking events in their neighbourhoods.
Many volunteers find it fosters a sense of community and belonging and can be a great way to meet new friends. Others talk about the importance of reducing the impact on the environment, and of giving back to the community.
Paul Burns, Group Scout Leader of the 2nd Selsdon and Addington Scout Group, said: “We involve the Cubs and Scouts in these local clean ups as we help them to be part of their community and take responsibility for it. The children enjoy filling the collection bags, as we have a challenge who can fill theirs up first.”
Last year the group went on several litter picks at Monks Hill, in the Bramley Bank Nature Reserve.
Mr Burns added, “Our Scout hut neighbours the woods that we help clear, and we hope it makes them nicer places to visit, while helping the wildlife that lives there.”
Left: 2nd Selsdon & Addington Cubs & Scouts, right: Gosselin Moving
In the north of the borough, members of the Litter-picking Friends of South Norwood have been keeping the SE25 area clean for over five years. They connected as Street Champions and have built a neighbourhood community over social media.
Group member Anna Greaves, said: “Litter-picking is my way of giving something back to the community. I have had loads of fantastic conversations whilst out picking, people really care about this community. It’s also great for your mental and physical health to get out and about. None of this would be possible without the support of the Street Champions team at Croydon Council.”
Left: Litter-picking Friends of South Norwood at Love Lane Green, right: Coulsdon residents
The clean-ups support the day-to-day work of council teams to keep the borough clean and safe. Street cleansing teams respond to complaints as they come in, on top their regular rounds. In Croydon, hundreds of miles of highway is cleansed and swept each week, while staff clear approximately 2000 reported fly-tips of varying size each month.
The council carries out regular litter audits to deal with known hotspots and has put in extra bins and larger-capacity bins if needed.
Residents are encouraged to report fly tipping through the Love Clean Streets App.
“Cleaning up Croydon is such an important part of restoring pride in our borough – and I am so grateful to these outstanding volunteers for all their hard work last year. It’s wonderful to see so many people from all walks of life coming together to help keep our streets, parks and green spaces clean – and the best way we can all show our appreciation for their efforts is to always put litter in the bin where it belongs.
“I hope even more residents will sign up this year, as getting involved is a really rewarding way to give back to our community. As the Street Champions programme continues to grow, we will continue to support it.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon
To organise a litter-picking event, or become a Street Champion, contact firstname.lastname@example.org