Litter Pick at Falcon Wood

A small team of Riverside Community Big Local volunteers spent Sunday morning picking litter from the piece of land along Bridge Road known as Falconwood.

Working with local residents and organisations the Big Local plans to create a Pocket Park on this previously un-cared for land.

As part of these plans the Big Local thinned out some of the dead and dangerous trees and started to level off the land. The levelling off revealed a large amount of rubbish that had been buried for many years.

In all volunteers collected 24 sacks of cans, bottles and other rubbish – as well as a number of larger items of rubbish.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“Falconwood is a hidden gem and we plan to work with residents to make it a really pleasant place for people to enjoy. It time, we will look to put some appropriate seating and other amenities but – for now – the efforts of volunteers on Sunday has made to the area that bit nicer to look at and walk through.

“Thanks to Steve, Anton, Jacqueline and John for giving their time and to Thurrock Council for disposing of the rubbish collected.”

Orchard Forum cleaning alleys

Volunteers from the Orchards Community Forum were out again on Saturday morning tidying up alleyways around the Grove Road area, in Grays.

Chair of the Orchards Forum, Tina Holland, said; 

“18 months ago it would have taken many people half a day to clear these alleyways. Now we managed to tidy them in a couple of hours – we know they are far from perfect but the improvement is clear to see.

“We really can’t allow these alleyways to fall back into the state they were last year. That’s why we will continue spend a couple of hours, once a month, to make sure we keep on top of them.”

Details of alley cleans can be found on the Orchards Forum Facebook page.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“I want to thank Tina and all the Orchards Forum volunteers for their hard work in keeping these alleys as clear as possible. They really are making a difference to their local community. Thanks as well to Thurrock Council for helping by disposing of the rubbish collected.

BeacherCombers cleaning up Grays Beach

On Sunday morning, around 20, Grays Beachcomber volunteers spent a couple of hours in the sun collecting waste plastic and other rubbish from along the river front in Grays.

They collected 26 sacks of rubbish which included over 220 single use plastic bottles that would otherwise have been washed back into the Thames.

This Sunday, they also collected a number of empty drinks cans that will be used to help create an art installation known as a “Mandala,” as part of this year’s T100 festival.

After the volunteers finished their hard work they were treated to a well deserved bacon sandwich and a drink at the Lightship Cafe – the cafe in Grays Beach Park.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“Around the world eight million tonnes of waste plastic make their way into our seas and rivers. Those plastics break down and end up being consumed by fish – much of which we eat.

“The work of the Grays Beachcombers is one small way of raising the profile of this issue as well as helping improve our local environment. I want to thank every one of them for their hard work and the Riverside Community Big Local is pleased to make sure they all get something to eat and drink afterwards.”

The Grays Beachcombers meet on the first Sunday of the month, 10.30 outside Thurrock Yacht Club.

Next clean up at Grays Beach Sunday 8th November 10:30

Dolly is bagging another bottle. Even Storm Francis couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm last Tuesday.

Dolly is 6 years old and is very keen to clear up the rubbish around the Thames as she has learnt about it at school. 

She loved the day with all of the volunteers, making friends with everyone. Her big sister said her favourite find was the “wand” which was actually a weird looking fork haha!

Together with a little help from the other volunteers, Dolly filled 31 sacks including 223 single use plastic bottles.

Steve Catchpole said “I am looking forward to seeing Dolly and all the other volunteers at a future event very soon.”

Future events:

Saturday 26th September – Friends of North Thames Estuary – meeting at the Tilbury Fort, Tilbury RM18 7NR – 10:30 to 13:30. If you have your own equipment, picker, hoop, gloves, face mask and sturdy walking shoes, please bring them. We will be walking at least 3 miles collecting river rubbish along the foreshore – Limited facilities available – 8 places available.

Sunday 4th October – Friends of Grays Beachcombers – meeting at Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays RM17 6JF at 10:30 until 12:00. Foreshore tidy. If you have your own equipment, picker, hoop, gloves and face mask please also bring along sanitising hand wash. – Limited facilities are available – FULLY BOOKED.

Sunday 8th November – Friends of Grays Beachcombers – meeting at Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays RM17 6JF at 10:30 until 12:00. Foreshore tidy. If you have your own equipment, picker, hoop, gloves and face mask please also bring along sanitising hand wash. – Limited facilities are available – Only 6 places available. Please note the alternative date.

Sunday 6th December – Friends of Grays Beachcombers – meeting at Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays RM17 6JF at 10:30 until 12:00. Foreshore tidy. If you have your own equipment, picker, hoop, gloves and face mask please also bring along sanitising hand wash. – Limited facilities are available – 14 places available.

During these strange times pre-booking is critical. Do not attend unless I have confirmed your places.

To book a place please email Steve Catchpole at Litterpickingsteve@outlook.com

Post Lockdown care for Planters

Volunteers have been working hard to brighten up the area around the Lightship Cafe at Grays Beach Park.

Led by local resident, Tricia Nicholls, new ornamental planters have been filled with plants and flowers and work has started on maintaining other planted areas.

Chair of the Lightship Cafe CIC, Tina Macklin, said;

“The Lightship Cafe relies on our dedicated volunteers to keep going. Tricia has recently joined us and has done a fantastic job brightening up the area outside the cafe.

Owing to Covid, we haven’t been able to do as much as we would have liked and have started late in the year – with Tricia’s help I am sure we will have a stunning floral display right through next summer.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, which supports the Lightship Cafe added;

“We had a generous grant from Thurrock Council’s Community Environmental Development Fund to buy new, self watering, ornamental planters for the park. They are looking really good and the feedback from park users has been really positive.”

Successful Litter Pick

Volunteers from the Orchards Forum were out on Saturday clearing rubbish from the alleyways around Benson Road, Salisbury Road, Richmond Road and Kent Road.

Tina Holland, Chair of the Orchards Forum, and was one of the volunteers said;

“When we started clearing local alleyways, last year, we would need six council trucks an alley to take all the rubbish away. Today, after visiting numerous alleys around Benson Road, we didn’t quite fill one truck. What a fantastic difference the community has made by working together!

“We know other alleyways are not as clear as these and we will get round to them as soon as we can – as always, the more volunteers we have the more we can get done!”

Andy Blakey, Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, said;

“This is another great effort from by our local community and I would like to thank each and every one for their time and effort – thanks as well to Antonio Rodrigues, from Thurrock Council for making sure the rubbish was taken away.

“Next month is the Great British September Clean when we will be out cleaning up grot spots around the Riverside Community area. If you know of an area that could do with a clean you can use the link below to add it to the list – you can also use the link to volunteer to help out with a clean up.”

see the Great British September Clean for how you can be involved

Thank You Benches installed

The Riverside Community Big Local has commissioned a number of benches to thank our NHS workers – and other volunteers – for all they have done to keep our communities as safe and well as possible during the Coronavirus crisis.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“We have all been humbled by the work of all those who work in our NHS. We have seen nurses, doctors, paramedics – and so many other health and care workers – making enormous sacrifices and doing an incredible job in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

“We wanted to make sure that all our key workers – and community volunteers – know just how grateful we are. We hope these benches are a very visible sign of our thanks and will continue demonstrate our admiration for many years to come.

“I also want to thank Thurrock Council for installing the benches for us.”

The benches can be found at Grays Beach Park, Elm Road Green Open Space, Grays Town Park and in Grays High Street.

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