Newcastle litter crusader backs the city’s Great British Spring Clean

A photograph of Alicia Wroblewski - Great British Spring Clean
A photograph of Alicia Wroblewski - Great British Spring Clean

A Jesmond litter crusader backs the City Council’s involvement in this year’s Great British Spring Clean.

​Alicia Wroblewski, aged 24, a resident of Jesmond Vale has been litter picking in her local community for over 15-months. Alicia, who works locally as a clerical assistant, collects discarded rubbish, most weekends, and dispenses of the bags in her wheelie bin. 

​“I feel really proud to live in Newcastle, and my regular litter picks are my way of giving something back to the community,” said Alicia.

​The City Council and Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) will be taking part in the national campaign, Great British Spring Clean. The scheme’s poster campaign advertises “Heroes Wanted!” they are looking for individuals and groups to help clean up the nation   www.greatbritishspringclean.org.uk 

​Alicia lives with her partner Jamie, who’s a post graduate radiotherapy student. She has collected over 150 bags of rubbish throughout her ‘litter crusade’ with cigarette packets, cardboard, aluminium cans and plastic bottles being the most regular items found. Alicia borrowed the ‘litter picking’ equipment from the City Council’s ‘communities team’ – something that any individual or group can do on request.

Alicia added: “I think it's important for everybody to do their bit because if they cared a little more about where they lived, then I think it would make a huge difference overall in the community. Even if residents just cleaned up the area outside of their own property – every little helps. It really makes me sad to see rubbish accumulate in the rivers and in the trees. I love animals so I’d hate to think they might be affected by the issue.

“I appreciate that a big part of the litter problem is amassed by the weather when the wind blows rubbish from residential and public litter bins. But if everybody was a bit more aware and picked up their own litter, or just didn't drop it in the first place. Then it would make huge improvements overall to the City. The Great British Spring Clean could be the perfect springboard in moving forward.”

Newcastle’s ‘Great British Spring Clean’ events will take place between 27th February and 3rd March with the locations including: Spring Garden Lane (27 Feb, 10am / Westgate), Little Grange (Mon 27 Feb, 12.30pm / Gosforth), St Anne’s (27 Feb, 1.30pm / Shieldfield), New Mills (28 Feb, 1pm / Westgate), Elswick Triangle (28 Feb, 9am / Elswick), Acanthus Avenue (1 March, 11am / Fenham), North Kenton (1 March, 1pm  / Kenton), Pottery Bank (1 March, 10am / Walker), Benwell Terrace (2 March, 1pm / Benwell), Ringtons (3 March, 10am / Byker), and Pendower (3 March, 11am / Benwell).

For a full list of dates, times and locations please visit www.yhn.org.uk/2017/02/21/city-clean-up

In the past three years, we have taken 596 prosecutions and issued 818 Fixed Penalty Notices for waste crimes. These actions have resulted in 2,360 hours of community payback; 50 months imprisonment, and over £197,600 paid in fines and penalties.

In terms of litter offences, the Authority actively enforce the offence of depositing and leaving litter, being recently identified in national media as one of the local authorities that issues the highest number of fixed penalty notices in the country (for which it has a 84% payment rate and almost 100% conviction and recovery rate). Over the past two years, 5,922 fixed penalty notices have been issued for litter and 1,084 people prosecuted.

Councillor Nick Kemp, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said: “Alicia is someone who is really showing how residents can contribute. She clearly loves where she lives and is willing to roll up her sleeves and help out the local community.  We must remember that the great majority of the city’s litter problem is caused by people too lazy to throw their rubbish away in bins or take it home. The Council’s enforcement team has been coming down heavily on the culprits by issuing fines and in some cases taking people to court, and we will continue to do so because litter and fly tipping makes such a negative impact on our city.

“Newcastle will be playing its part in the Great British Spring Clean, and I hope that residents and community groups come together to help make the events a big success. Our aim has always been to make Newcastle a cleaner, greener city.”

Tina Drury, managing director of YHN, said: “We’re really looking forward to seeing our communities come together for these spring clean events as we know what a difference it can make to people when their neighbourhood is lovely and tidy. So many of our customers take a great deal of pride in their local areas and it’s a pleasure for us to support them to make this happen on a large scale.

“We’d also love to see people who are not our customers getting involved too so, if any local businesses, students or other residents would like to take part, they’d be more than welcome!”

Anyone who wishes to participate in Newcastle’s ‘Great British Spring Clean’ events can contact one of YHN’s local housing offices with a full list of events provided at www.yhn.org.uk/2017/02/21/city-clean-up

The will also be regular updates on the City Council’s and YHN social media pages [@NewcastleCityCouncil on Facebook and @NewcastleCC on Twitter] and [@yourhomesnewcastle on Face Book and @NewsfromYHN on Twitter] People are encouraged to use the hashtags #litterheroes and #NewcastleSpringClean