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Neighbours create community project to clean up L8 street by street

10 months ago

Neighbours create community project to clean up L8 street by street
Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool

Neighbours in Liverpool 8 have created a community project to clean up the area street by street and help tackle isolation.

It’s Your World Liverpool was started four months ago by Jane Wragg with the aim of bringing people together and empowering them to make a positive difference to where they live.

Volunteers clear the streets with the support of neighbours, weeding and pruning, painting woodwork, getting rid of debris and fly-tipping, and removing graffiti. They then encourage the neighbours to take ownership of the street maintenance plan to keep their street clean in the future.

Retired civil servant Jane was already litter picking near her Toxteth home when a chance meeting gave her the idea to do something more.

Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool
Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool

She explains: “I wear a hi-vis in the winter and one of my neighbours thought I worked for the council and asked me to come and look at a problem they had with debris.

“We got into conversation, and I thought we could get the neighbours to help clear it up. I literally just started knocking on doors and saying, ‘I’m thinking of doing this project, do you want to help?’ The idea grew over that first week as I got people interested, then as we moved to each new street I’d put flyers though and knock on doors again and the group just grew.”

Jane says in practice, the project has been as much – if not more – about community as it is about cleaning.

“Connecting people who feel isolated, taking pride in our streets and bonding with neighbours has had a direct impact on the mental wellbeing of everyone our project has touched,” she adds.

“There’s a comradeship that we’ve created together and it’s really helping us all get out of bed in the mornings. I’m out probably every day and I absolutely love it, I wish I’d done it 10 years ago!

“I think there was more of a sense of community during the pandemic but a lot of that’s gone now, so that’s what we’re trying to bring back. 

“People who didn’t know any of their neighbours before have now got those connections, they meet in the street or call in for coffee and they know they’ve got someone there if they need any help.

“We encourage children to come along too so we have ages 7 to 77 who help us, and we have a core group of volunteers from Asylum Link Merseyside who come out and work alongside us which is great.”

Jane admits that some people do argue it’s not their responsibility to clean up the area.

Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool
Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool

“They say, ‘but the council should do all of this’ and maybe that’s a fair point but also we’re empowered to do it ourselves and make a difference to our streets rather than sitting and waiting for someone else to do it.”

So far the project has tackled a series of interconnecting streets in L8 including Lestock Street, Hampton Street, Windsor Street, Upper Stanhope Street and Blair Street.

But there are plans to expand and Jane says they’re liaising with other local litter picking and clean-up groups and their local councillor to make that happen.

“We’ve already had a knock-on effect because we’ve seen neighbours independently keeping the streets clean where we’ve worked and we’ve got neighbours who pay it forward to different streets as well.

“We work really closely with our councillor, she came to one of our meetings and she’s helping us to achieve the things we can’t do ourselves, such as replacing street lighting, removing graffiti and fly-tipping, to transform streets and make them safer as well.

Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool
Credit: It’s Your World Liverpool

“The plan is to leave a legacy of neighbour ownership of street maintenance and this is beginning to be put in action as we continue to network with those around us and share the benefits. Community pride restored on neglected streets, mental health significantly improved with neighbourly connections and a sense of belonging to a real community. 

“Eventually we’re hoping to move the project all through the Toxteth ward. We’ve made a start, so over winter we’re going to do a lot more networking and make plans for when we can get out properly on the streets again, as well as talking to owners of properties and businesses.

“We have volunteers who don’t mind a bit of rain so we’ll still be out litter picking and we’ll carry on the community indoors, sharing food and cooking for each other. Even when the weather’s not great we’ll still be together as a big family.”

Find the project on socials: Instagram: ItsYourWorld_Liverpool

Facebook: ItsYourWorld.Liverpool

Or you can help It’s Your World Liverpool buy a shed for tools and supplies on their JustGiving page here. For more of the latest in Liverpool click HERE.

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