Street Pride initiative marks its tenth birthday with well attended March Braza Club celebration
- Credit: Archant
Nearly 90 volunteers from all over the district gathered at the Braza Club in March last week to join in a big birthday party.
They were there to celebrate all that Street Pride had achieved over the past decade. But significantly this time they included not just Street Pride members but also representatives from local In Bloom and Friends groups, reflecting the increasingly close cooperation between them all.
Along with the many plaudits for their hard work and commitment, they heard a call for them to redouble their efforts in the face of growing pressure on council budgets.
Roy Gerstner, vice-chairman of Whittlesey Street Pride and a longstanding member of one of the first and most active groups, said: “As Street Pride, In Bloom and Friends groups, we do an incredible amount to help keep Fenland looking clean and tidy and make it the attractive place it is to live and visit.
“We clear a vast amount of rubbish and we should all be proud of that. But particularly in this time of austerity we’re probably going to need to do even more.
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“It is great that Fenland District Council has given such support to Street Pride over the years and I very much hope that will continue.”
A series of display boards lined one side of the room charting Street Pride’s progress from the time it was launched by a handful of Fenland District Council staff members to the present day.
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The first litter-pick was held in March’s West End Park in November 2005 and in that first year, the volunteers donated about 450 hours of work.
Today there are 12 active Street Pride groups across the district. Between them, they have held at least 235 events of various sorts over the past year.
In total there are now more than 300 volunteers working with 23 different groups on a wide range of environmental projects all over Fenland.
Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s cabinet member responsible for the environment, said: “It is wonderful to see how many of you have this year gone beyond litter-picking by broadening your aims to focus on new activities such as clearing previously neglected sites.
“We hope that what you hear tonight and learn from each other will inspire you to take on new challenges.
“This evening is a time to say thank you to all the committed and dedicated groups of volunteers for all your enthusiasm and hard work for the benefit of everyone. Well done!”
SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS
Best Nature Project
•Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery
For the annual Snowdrop Walk, one of the regular walks held by the group as part of its work looking after the cemetery for the benefit of visitors and wildlife as well as promoting its history.
Also nominated: Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve; Friends of Station Road Cemetery; Whittlesey in Bloom
Best Partnership Project
•Friends of Norwood Road Nature Reserve
For a successful workshop run with Froglife as part of its Dragon Finder scheme. Participants had to design a garden or green space that would be wildlife-friendly. It led to several new volunteers joining the Friends.
Also nominated: Manea Street Pride & Manea Fire Service; Wisbech Street Pride/In Bloom & The National Trust
Best Street Scene Project
•March Street Pride/In Bloom and March History Group
For a project to improve the Match’s Gray’s Lane area. Special focus on a shelter previously blighted by graffiti. Improvements included the installation of a photo montage on to the back wall depicting the history of March as well as a three-tier planter.
Also nominated: Gorefield Street Pride; Benwick Street Pride / In Bloom
Best Youth Project
•Chatteris Street Pride/In Bloom
For establishing a new “Little Bloomers” group to encourage younger children to learn about how to care for nature through various fun activities and to support the work of the main in Bloom group.
Also nominated: Whittlesey Street Pride; Parson Drove Street Pride & Alderman Payne Primary School
Best Community Project
•Waterlees In Bloom
For their work with local residents and various partner agencies, particularly one project in which volunteers teamed up with staff from Lloyds Bank to clear up the garden at Community House and help clients get back into work..
Also nominated: Friends of March Railway Station; Friends of Whittlesey Cemetery
Best Clean Up Project
•Leverington Street Pride
For designing and creating an innovative wheelie litter bag carrier that makes it easier to pick up rubbish on a windy day – a clever idea that also helps the group to be noticed when they’re out and about.
Also nominated: Newton Street Pride; Tydd St Giles Street Pride
Two individuals were also awarded special certificates for their distinguished long service. Mike Thomas was one of the original Fenland District Council workers who got Street Pride off the ground in 2005 and is still going strong as a member of the March group.
And Alan Moore has for many years been in charge of individuals from the Community Payback scheme who are involved in many of the environmental improvement projects.