A COMMUNITY-spirited group of school friends have kick-started a new Rugby Borough Council scheme to help keep the borough clean and tidy after they decided to pick litter as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award programme.
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 on 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 said they chose litter-picking because it made Rugby a nicer place – and was a way of spending quality time together outside of school.
They added: “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.
“It also means 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.”
Council leisure and wellbeing spokesman Coun Howard Roberts 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 and other volunteer litter pickers can email email@example.com for litter picking kit or an independent assessor.