It’s a case of Keep on Wombling for litter-pickers Keep Britain Tidy as the leader who guided them through financial hardship departs – but not before leaving a spick and span five-year plan.
Phil Barton called time on his seven-year spell as chief executive last month after steering the charity through a cash crisis when they lost their government grant to budget cuts in 2010.
Just in time for a thorough spring clean the charity, born as a backlash to throwaway culture, remains strong on its core issues of tackling litter and reducing waste.
The people behind the famous ‘tidyman’ logo also work to improve open community spaces like parks and, of course, Wimbledon Common.
Mr Barton said: “Keep Britain Tidy has an opportunity over the next five years to make a real difference, particularly as the pressures on the quality of our green spaces, our streets and our stagnating recycling rates begin to bite.”
Keep Britain Tidy is best known for its yearly initiative, the Big Tidy Up, which organises events all over the country to improve communities and tackle litter.
Last year’s event gained unexpected star support as original recyclers the Wombles made appearances across the country to celebrate the charity’s 60th anniversary.
Mr Barton’s successor, Richad McIlwain, is an advocate for Love Where You Live, a campaign that works with schools to encourage children to ‘go green’ and even cleans up rivers from canoes.
Wimbledon children are especially inspired by their furry neighbours as Pelham Primary School has been dubbed a leading eco-school and was awarded a prestigious Green Flag.
The infant eco-vists follow a simple three step code to make a little difference every day, turning off taps, walking and remembering to use electricity only when needed.
As well as their ‘eco code’ the school encourages budding gardeners with a Green Fingers Club, pupils grow vegetables in the school garden and are awaiting their crops of radishes, carrots and potatoes later in the year.
Keep Britain Tidy promotes the outdoors by Green Flag Awards, launched in 1996 to reward the best green spaces in the country, so far 1,288 parks, recreation grounds, gardens and cemeteries have been recognised.
Picture courtesy of Jessica Mulley, with thanks