Try out and test our new website!

Local litter group nominated for BBC Make A Difference Award

Local litter group, The pickup artists with litter at Hartlebury common. Published Tuesday, 9th August 2022

A group of litter picking volunteers who have been helping to keep Hartlebury Common tidy have been rewarded for their efforts and nominated for a BBC Make A Difference Award.

A group of litter picking volunteers who have been helping to keep Hartlebury Common tidy have been rewarded for their efforts and nominated for a BBC Make A Difference Award.

Clearing Hartlebury Common was the biggest project, The Pickup Artists have ever taken on, and their efforts have been recognised with a nomination for the Environmental Award.

The clean-up has taken three years, over 500 volunteer hours and has been supported by £26,000 worth of funding and team support from Worcestershire County Council.

The WCC Greenspace Team spent over 370 hours clearing the overgrowth so that the volunteers could reach the fly-tipped rubbish and litter.

In October 2018, the group of litter picking volunteers the Pickup Artists arranged to pick up the litter around Hartlebury Common’s nature reserve with Worcestershire County Council’s Greenspace Team and the Hartlebury Common Local Group (HCLG)..

Headed up by Keep Britain Tidy litter heroes Ambassador Karen Blanchfield and Pauline Round, who both volunteer for the Pickup Artists, the group were shown around the fly-tipped area with Martin Barnett WCC Countryside Officer and asked if they would help them to clean it up.

Martin Barnett, Countryside  Sites Officer for Worcestershire County Council, said:

“This is a proud moment for all involved in this work where a persistent issue of illegal dumping of waste has been addressed. A great challenge overcome by the persistent work and passion of volunteers, local people and our small team of WCC officers.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities for Worcestershire County Council said, “The BBC Hereford and Worcester Make A Difference Nomination is a real moment of recognition for what has been a massive team effort to clean up Hartlebury Common and show visitors just why it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. I’d like to thank all involved in the cleanup, for their effort and dedication to this project.”

Karen Blanchfield, Litter Heroes Ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy and member of the Pickup Artists said: “Normally I’m one of many words but when Martin showed us the area in question, it left me speechless at the sheer size of the fly-tipped area. To me it looked like a landfill site higher than 3 metres tall and it stretched 100’s of yards. How and where would we start was in my head but knowing our fantastic community of volunteers that we are blessed to have, we agreed to just start somewhere. That somewhere lead to us to take on the biggest project the pickup artists have ever seen.”

Excavators were needed to remove tons of heavy fly-tipped domestic waste, skips and trailers were filled with thousands of bags of litter over the period of the three years.

Lockdown saw the team put the clear up on hold for 6 months that unfortunately saw a rise once again in fly-tipping on the common. This did not stop them; they just picked up their pickers and carried on with the job in hand.