Volunteers take to the streets for the big community clean-up
- Credit: OCV
Ottery’s community clean-up operation saw scores of residents take to the streets on Saturday.
Organised by Ottery Community Volunteers and Plastic Free Ottery, the Town Clean Up was declared a great success.
Just under 100 volunteers spreading out across the town to pick up litter, clean signs, do some weeding and any other jobs they came across. The litter pickers ranged in age from three to 80 and everyone contributed something - and had fun doing so.
They collected around eight bin bags of rubbish, including metal poles, a lot of plastic and cigarette ends and a pair of false teeth. They were not salvageable.
There were meeting points across the town to ensure social distancing rules were kept to, and small groups crossed town with buckets, sponges, litter pickers and hi viz coats.
Special credit for the clean-up went to Teena Giles-Masters, who in the weeks leading up to the day visited just about every business in Ottery St Mary and secured sponges, taps, kettles and other essential items. Then, two days before the event, she was told to self-isolate and although testing negative she had to miss the event.
Volunteer Justin Meagor said: “It was a great opportunity to do something for the town. It was good to see so many people out and about making a difference.”
Ottery Community Volunteers director Stewart Lucas said: “We were looking to host a community event as soon as it became possible, to encourage people to meet up and see each other again.
“Last year the council organised the Shop Front Fund to help our shops and businesses sharpen up their stores, so the Community Volunteers thought it would be good to look at the streets, signs and little patches of ground that no one looks after.”
Plastic Free Ottery organised a talk from the Marine Conservation Society, explaining how even the smallest pieces of plastic discarded in Ottery work their way through the water system out to the oceans, and how a local litter pick can make a global difference.
They also organised a reading by local author Jo Earlam, who also kindly donated books to winners of the litter quiz.
Particular thanks go to the event’s hosts for the day: Kings Manor Care Home, E A Dodd & Son Funeral Director, the town council, the Coffee Bank café, the Volunteer inn, Samosa Lady and the football club.
The main sponsors of the event, who ensured that it went ahead through their generosity, were: Abbotts DIY, Roberts, Rivers Of Ink, Curious Otter Bookshop, Otter Garden Centre, Otter Financial Services, Ottery Tae-Kwan Do Club and Ottery St Mary Consulting Ltd.
There are plans to make these regular events in Ottery and the next event may take place in Tipton St John.
If you would like to learn more about Ottery Community Volunteers please contact them on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01404 600013.