‘Leeds Goes Purple’ in the fight against litter

A community-led campaign which is taking positive action to tackle the scourge of littering in Leeds is aiming to turn Leeds into a sea of purple this Saturday (3 July 2021).

This follows the success of the Litter Free Leeds movement, which working closely in partnership with Leeds City Council, has seen volunteers, businesses and organisations join forces to remove tonnes of rubbish and waste from communities across the city. The movement has grown hugely over the last 12 months as individuals and groups have taken to litter picking on their walks in lockdown, using unique and distinctive purple bags supplied and collected by the council.

So far in 2021 it’s calculated that over 60 tonnes of litter has been collected by the 3,000+ strong army of volunteers. Much of this litter has been hidden in hedgerows for years, with photos posted on the Litter Free Leeds Facebook page even showing crisp packets collected dating back decades. In response to the superb momentum which has been gathered through the campaign, Litter Free Leeds is now organising a ‘Leeds Goes Purple’ day on Saturday 3 July to mark and help celebrate the contributions being made across the city and to spread the news to anyone who wants to join in and do their bit in and around their local communities.

Volunteers will be out in significant numbers on their streets and local green spaces armed with litter grabbers and purple bags in a show of solidarity and support to mark the special day of action. The movement will also highlight the importance of individuals and communities taking responsibility for keeping their local areas clean, tidy and litter free. All are leading by example in showing what local communities can achieve when everyone works together. The aim is to change the behaviour of the small minority who litter, by being good role models and leading by example. Local litter picks include:

Friday 2 July

12-2pm Hunslet Tenants & Resident Association Action Day, meet at Church of the Nazarene, Grove Road

3pm Beeston Hill Wombles, meet at Brickfield Park, Lady Pit Lane

Saturday 3 July

10am Beeston Womblers, meet at Beeston Co-op or Sugar Mill Business Park, Oakhurst Avenue

11am Hunslet Tenants & Resident Association, meet at Church of the Nazarene, Grove Road

Sunday 4 July

10am Hunslet Carr Wombles, meet at Arthington Court car park, Balm Road

If you can’t get to an organised event you can collect bags to use where you live. To find out more about the Litter Free Leeds movement and to get involved, search for their social media pages or visit their website at: www.litterfreeleeds.co.uk

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and housing, said:

“The council has always been keen to support community clean ups and local litter groups, with many councillors across the city either actively involved or helping find some local funding to help with equipment and hi-viz. The Litter Free Leeds movement has taken that to another level during the last year in particular.

“Working with the support of the council, literally thousands of people have been deep cleaning their neighbourhoods and green spaces as they go about their daily walks or undertake socially distanced exercise. I am incredibly grateful for all these efforts and the work of Sandra and the network of group organisers and bag holders involved in Litter Free Leeds activities across the city.

“To commemorate the first ‘Leeds Goes Purple’ day we asked Litter Free Leeds what they would like from us to help them and so have purchased several hundred litter grabbers, adult and child sizes for them to loan out to volunteers. Our cleaner neighbourhood teams are working hard to keep up with the hundreds of purple bags being filled each week and left by litter bins for collection and I would like to thank those staff too.”

Sandra McLean, Litter Free Leeds, said:

“Litter Free Leeds was born from a meeting of like-minded volunteers back in 2017. A social media account and then a website was set up and gradually built up the movement as we shared photos and stories of our litter picking adventures and achievements. However, the pandemic has been the catalyst for an extraordinary rise in volunteers wanting to know how they can get the purple bags and safely litter pick on their socially distanced walks and daily exercise. We went from having 500 members on our Facebook page to over 3,000 in the space of less than a year. Our members share their stories and photos, and it has become a supportive community of Leeds people all wanting to do their bit where they live and help make Leeds the beautiful city it is. Many have found it a huge help during lockdown in dealing with feelings of isolation and mental health issues.

“This first Leeds Goes Purple day is a way to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary efforts of so many across the City and to spread the word to anyone new wanting to join in. Ultimately of course we don’t want to have any litter to pick! We hope that Litter Free Leeds can play a big part in changing the behaviour of those who litter so that it becomes the social norm for everyone to dispose of their waste and litter responsibly. Every bag counts so please join us on our big day.”

To find out more about the Litter Free Leeds movement and to get involved, search for their social media pages or visit their website at www.litterfreeleeds.co.uk.   This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council



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