Adopt a street and keep it clean by joining Royston Wombles scheme
- Credit: Robin Kazer
A movement to 'adopt a street' and keep it clear it of litter has reached Royston.
Andy Murphy started thinking about a community-led initiative to clean up local areas after he and his wife saw the amount of rubbish on their daily walks around Ware.
He told the Crow: "We were out walking at Christmas and stepping over masses of rubbish -- and the next time we went it was still there.
"It was disgusting, so we thought if we're going out walking lets go and litter-pick.
"We picked about 50 sacks of rubbish in our area. We tried to encourage neighbours and a few of them did, but it wasn't getting many people - we were barely scratching the surface."
"My wife and I were talking about it over a bottle of wine one night and it went from there. We thought if there were 10 people going for a walk with their dogs, those 10 people would be stepping over rubbish dropped by another person. If one of those people picked the rubbish up it would be done, so why don't we get one person to adopt their street and look after it?"
Andy and his wife started the Wombles of Ware Abouts - and posted on local community groups. He said it started in Ware and has naturally branched out to nearby communities and has now weaved its way up the A10 to Royston.
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"It's been exciting and frightening in equal measures to see the numbers grow," he said.
"Last Friday we posted in Royston Reporting page, and it's really taken off."
"More than 60 people have signed up and probably half have actively volunteered to adopt their street or a particular chunk.
"What most people do when they litter-pick is go and clean an area and as soon as your backs turned people are chucking rubbish again.
"With this adoption idea, bite-sized chunks are allocated, so it's a semi-permanent solution to the littering problem.
"We found so many people who were like us and wanted to make a difference but hadn't taken that first step of going outside with a picker and a bag. We have around 1,000 people in total and everyone is talking about it - litter-picking has gone from being a bit embarrassing to actually quite cool."
Resident, district councillor and chair of Royston Environmental Group, Carol Stanier, signed up to become a 'womble' and has adopted a couple of streets in Royston - she's even been out 'wombling' with sons Matthew and Robin.
She told the Crow: "I think its a great citizen action. It's basically normalising tidying up your own corner of the town. Nobody has to do a lot, everyone can do a little and it just becomes a part of your daily routine - like a womble, for those old enough to remember them!
"Obviously the best thing would be for people not to drop litter at all. Maybe we can achieve that if we make the sight of litter something unusual and the idea of dropping it something that's alien to our children - because they are future adults, not because they drop the most litter!"
If you're interested in adopting a street or starting up a 'wombles' group in your area - particularly if you're between Royston and Cambridge as that's where Andy is hoping to target next - see the Wombles of Ware Abouts on Facebook.