Opening in Autumn 2021, local residents will be able to borrow litter picking kits from one of the five Litter Picking Libraries being hosted in community venues across Belle Isle and Middleton.
In 2017 the Litter Free Leeds campaign was launched by a group of volunteers who wanted to bring communities, groups and individuals together to reduce litter across the city and change behaviour around littering. The Litter Free Leeds campaign works closely with Leeds City Council’s Cleaner Neighbourhoods Team who support volunteer litter picking efforts by providing equipment, litter picking bags and disposing of the picked rubbish. During the Covid-19 pandemic the Litter Free Leeds campaign has gone from strength to strength with over 3,000 Facebook followers and a highly popular ‘turn it purple’ event in July 2021.
It’s hoped that a local campaign will both encourage and support those who wish to get involved in Belle Isle and Middleton. Having secured funding from Inner South Housing Advisory Panel and Councillor Groves’ MICE funds (Members Improvements in the Community and Environments), as well as donations of equipment from Litter Free Leeds, each Litter Picking Library will have kits to loan that include gloves, bags, a litter picker and a high-vis vest for people to borrow.
Carla Yeomans, Community and Tenant Support Manager at BITMO – host to one of the Litter Picking Libraries – said:
“As well as helping to keep our neighbourhoods tidy, litter picking is great for both mental and physical wellbeing. Being outdoors more, moving more, connecting with your community, feeling like you’re making a difference, will all help boost feelings of wellness.”
Carla said that she was inspired to support a local litter picking campaign after meeting a Katie Greenwood who was litter picking her neighbourhood.
Katie spoke about how during the pandemic she had noticed more litter around so started to do something about it. Katie registered with Litter Free Leeds and is now a purple bag holder for them. Katie added:
“Litter picking is a great activity for all. It’s good for mental health and clearing the mind. For all those people working from home now it could provide a good reason to get out and see people. It improves community spirit and doesn’t discriminate.
“Even if people spent 30 mins a week doing it then they would see a difference. We get lots of encouragement from passers by and people notice where we have been. People can post photos on the Facebook pages of their work to get encouragement from others. This also allows other lone litter pickers in the area to have the option of joining up and doing bad areas together to make it easier. It is highly addictive though as after the first time you just see litter everywhere and just feel like you need to pick it!”
The five Litter Picking Libraries in Middleton and Belle Isle will be at:
- Belle Isle TMO – The GATE, Aberfield Gate, Belle Isle LS10 3QH
- South Leeds Youth Hub, Middleton Road, Belle Isle LS10 3JA
- St George’s Centre Community Hub, St George’s Road, Middleton LS10 4UZ
- Manorfield Hall Community Centre, Newhall Road, Middleton LS10 3RR
- Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL), Middleton Community Centre, Acre Road, LS10 4LF
This post was written by Rebecca Townesend