One of the things I am most passionate about - both as a local MP and as a local resident - is cleaning up Croydon.
A few years ago, I set up a group of volunteers who help to keep our parks and open spaces clean. I know some people feel that this is the Council’s job - we pay our Council Tax so why should we have to spend any of our precious spare time cleaning up other people’s mess? The reality, however, is that only a small fraction of the Council Tax we pay goes on street and park cleaning: unless we are all willing to pay a lot more, the Council is always going to need some help. And giving up a few hours every now and then does make a difference, not just in the short term but in the long term too: research shows that people are less likely to litter in areas that look well-maintained.
That’s why I am organising the Great Croydon Clean Up over the weekend of Friday 10th May to Sunday 12th May. I have written to the chairs of all the Residents Associations in my constituency; the headteachers of all the schools; the principals of all the colleges; all the major employers; all the churches, mosques and synagogues; and existing voluntary groups like the scouts to ask if they would organise a litter pick in their area at some point over this weekend.
If you are prepared to join in yourself, please me know where and when you’ll be meeting, how long the session will last and the name and email address of the organiser so that I can:
- ensure that we don’t get two different groups organising litter picks in the same location;
- arrange for the Council to pick up the litter you collect;
- try to get media coverage of what we are doing, not just locally but in the London-wide media too (which hopefully may help to change the negative perceptions some people have of our town); and
- if you wish me to do so, advertise the contact details of the organiser so that members of the public who wish to help out can get in touch (this may not be appropriate for sessions organised by schools, colleges etc).
One of the best things about my job is the number of people I get to meet who are passionate about our town. Many already give a lot of their time to one or more of the many voluntary organisations we have in the borough. But on this issue, I believe we will have more impact - and get more coverage - if we all try to organise something over one weekend. I hope you agree and look forward to hearing from you.
Here are the people who have agreed to help already - this will be updated as we are informed:
View Great Croydon Clean Up 2013 in a larger map
Notes from Croydon Council
All litter must be put into the bags provided by the Council (separating recycling and landfill where possible), and that during the clean ups only litter will be collected and not bulky waste items (such as sofas, white goods or large items). This is essential as bulky waste items will not be collected.