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Litter picking school friends inspire new Council support scheme

A group of school friends have kick-started a new Rugby Borough Council scheme to help keep the borough clean and tidy after deciding to litter pick as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award programme.

Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers Lily Fitzer and Tamara Davenport litter pick on the Cawston Greenway
Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers Lily Fitzer and Tamara Davenport litter pick on the Cawston Greenway Published Friday, 4th June 2021

The council has put together a package of support that includes equipment and volunteer assessments for Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers after the friends approached the council for help.
 
Tamara Davenport, Hannah Deaves and Lily Fitzer, along with a fourth friend following the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in Year 9 at Rugby High School, contacted the council to ask for equipment and independent assessment of their volunteering.
 
Hannah said: “We need to do six months of volunteering as one of our requirements to qualify for the award. We had the option to do three months of volunteering and six months of another category; we chose to do six months of litter-picking as it is more beneficial to the local community and we get to have fun along the way.
 
“We tend to go out into our community and litter-pick for at least an hour every weekend to make sure we are consistent.”
 
The friends added: “We chose litter-picking because, as well as being helpful to the community and making Rugby an even nicer place to be in, it's fun and we get to spend quality time together outside of being at school.
 
“Litter picking also makes the environment safer for creatures like hedgehogs and squirrels because we are getting rid of harmful items such as plastic bags and sharp cans.
 
“As well as this, getting rid of litter makes Rugby a more attractive place to live in. It also means that play areas and parks will be safer for children to play in as there is less of a risk of them hurting themselves.
 
“Rugby Borough Council has been very helpful in making the Duke of Edinburgh volunteering category easier for us by providing the equipment we need for litter picking and offering to collect the litter for us. They gave us litter-picking sticks, gloves, hi-vis jackets and bin bags.”
 
Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council cabinet member for leisure and wellbeing, said: “These students have shown great initiative to ask for help and support from the council, and we are only too pleased to help.
 
“The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme requires participants to identify an independent assessor to endorse their volunteering, and this new scheme makes it easy for participants to find someone to provide this support.
 
“Many groups and individuals volunteer by litter picking, many of them for a one-off event. The great thing about the D of E scheme is that volunteers will litter pick for an extended period of time ranging from at least three months, up to eighteen months, and this will have a big impact in the communities they choose to support.
 
“This really is a win-win for everyone: for the D of E participants, for their communities, and for the council.
 
“I would like to thank Tamara, Hannah, Lily and their friend for getting this scheme up and running for us.”
 
Future Duke of Edinburgh Award participants who would like litter picking kit and an independent assessor can email talkinthepark@rugby.gov.uk. Other volunteer litter pickers can also email.

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