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How Canterbury helped the Great British Spring Clean

Canterbury people have been welcoming Spring in style by cleaning up the
city as their contribution to the Great British Spring Clean.  Ten litter-picks were organised by residents’ associations and community groups covering many different parts of the city.

The series kicked off with the record-breaking Kingsmead litter-pick on 17th March, when 60 volunteers, including 17 pupils from the Kings School and 9 students from Canterbury Christ Church University, collected 70 bags of litter from a large swathe of Northgate, St Stephen’s, St Radigund’s and Kingsmead.

A week later, members of St Stephen’s Residents’ Association and St Michael’s Road Area Residents’ Association conducted a pincer-movement converging on Beverley Meadow. A warm sunny day brought our volunteers of all ages, including families with young children.

Headcorn Drive Residents’ Association were assisted by the University of Kent Student Community Champions, St Dunstan’s Residents’ Association received help – and bread! – from Warren’s Bakery, and mums from Kingsbrook Park started Mothers’ Day by doing their bit.

Oaten Hill and South Canterbury Association, and the Wincheap Society, both left their own areas looking a lot cleaner than they had been.  A number of residents’ groups came together to tackle the woods in the Hales
Place area, including a group of local youngsters, one of whom took to Facebook afterwards to say “I helped today and it was such a nice thing to do and me and my friend loved helping.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge was faced by Our Stour, who tackled a section of the river path near Parham Road where what ought to be lovely
views of the river are regularly blighted by the accumulation of litter.

A feature of all the events was the enjoyment of well-earned coffee and
biscuits, or tea and cake, depending on the time of day, and all helping to make them community events with a great feeling of conviviality. Altogether over 200 people took part, collecting more than 250 sacks of rubbish – not to mention such items as discarded street signs, a fishing rod, half a guitar, a baby’s car seat, an office chair, discarded clothing and shoes, boxes of rotten eggs, two suitcases, a handbag, kitchen plates, a bike saddle and handlebars, old toys and a rusty saw.

As well as litterpicks in Canterbury there were similar events in some of the nearby villages including Chartham, Harbledown, and Kingston, and many individual residents also cleaned up in their own locality.  

The Great British Spring Clean, which was coordinated nationally by Keep Britain Tidy, has now officially ended, but there’s still one more chance to join in, as the Canterbury Society will be turning out on Sunday 28 April to polish up Canterbury’s World Heritage Site, litter-picking in the areas between the Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church. Litter picking equipment and refreshments will be provided, and all
volunteers ready to roll their sleeves up will be most welcome.  Meet at 2.00 pm at the Longport Car Park.

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