Sunday, 19 November 2017

Girls launch children’s litter-picking club

TWO girls from Henley have started a children’s litter-picking club.

TWO girls from Henley have started a children’s litter-picking club.

Katie Aspden, 13, and Isabel Venning, 12, were inspired to start the group after doing a clean-up around the town as part of a school project to “make a difference”.

The girls, who attend Abbey School in Reading, hope to encourage other children to join their club and to clean the streets every other month.

Isabel, of Hamilton Avenue, said: “You do not realise there is so much litter unless you look for it. People think of Henley as a really nice, pretty town, which it is, but there is more litter than you think.

“The high street and Waitrose car park had quite a lot of litter because people were buying food and the minute they got out of the shop they were eating and throwing the packet away.” The girls each filled two black bin bags of rubbish during their four-hour clear-up of the town, which took place during the Christmas holidays. Among the rubbish they collected was a nappy and dog mess.

The girls spoke to a stallholder in the Waitrose car park who told them he ran a litter-picking club in Hurley and suggested they could do something similar.

They wrote to Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin with their idea of starting a Henley Environment Litter-Picking group (HELP) and were invited to the town hall to discuss the idea.

They are hoping to recruit children aged seven to 12, including Isabel’s sister, Pippa, 10. Katie, of Greys Road, said: “People don’t need to sign up, you can just come along. To make it more fun we want to give out two prizes each time — one for the person who collects the most rubbish and one for the person who has worked the hardest. We think that should encourage them.”

The girls hope a local business will sponsor the group to wear branded T-shirts.

Isabel said: “Adults do too much and we need to take more responsibility. Litter is really bad for the environment as animals might eat something bad or hurt themselves.”

Katie added: “It’s not that we weren’t involved before — if we saw litter we would pick it up and put it in the bin — but the litter-pick made us realise there was an issue.”

The girls will take part in Henley in Bloom’s annual “HiT Litter” campaign on Saturday, April 20 and hope to announce a date for their group’s first litter-pick soon. The girls’ parents are proud of their daughters’ initiative.

Katie’s mother, Carol, said: “It was their own idea to do the litter-pick and come up with something a bit different and it certainly makes a difference.

“If you walk down Greys Road you do see litter and also by the river front after the weekend.”

Isabel’s mother, Irene, a surveyor, said: “I am very proud of them for making a contribution to the town and getting other children involved.”

The Mayor said: “I was really pleased to see that young people are showing initiative and think rubbish is a bad thing.

“We have got to keep their enthusiasm and interest going because they are more likely to be able to encourage other young people to get involved.”

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