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A campaign to help reduce litter across Fylde during an exceptionally busy summer has been hailed a resounding success.

Fylde Council’s Take It, Don’t Leave It campaign has led to a significant reduction in litter and has encouraged even more volunteers to support clean-up operations on beaches and in rural communities.

The campaign was launched in July in partnership with local volunteer group, The Tossers / Wombles to raise awareness among visitors, holiday makers as well as local people and businesses.

A series of competitions, sand art installations and videos to highlight the types of litter left behind, the dangers of disposable BBQs and the devastating effects of rubbish on marine wildlife ran throughout the summer.

The theme of ‘Leave nothing but your footprints’ was the inspiration behind a series of 10-metre-long footprints spectacularly created in Fylde.

A total of 10 footprints were raked into the sand on the beach at St Annes and were captured in a stunning video and imagery that was shared hundreds of times on social media.

The second sand art installation of a dolphin was etched into the sand alongside the Take It, Don’t Leave It message which was also captured in a series of pictures and a video.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and local volunteers made heartfelt pleas to ask people to think twice before lighting BBQs or littering.

The council also invested in additional staff, bins and collections and introduced bucket and spade trade recycling facilities on the beach.

A competition to reward little litter pickers was also launched and prizes were donated from across the Fylde coast with local businesses and attractions more than happy to support the campaign.

They included family passes to Fylde’s Adventure Golf, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle and Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall as well as a Beach Hut for the day from St Annes Beach Huts, boat hire for six people on Fairhaven Lake, tickets to the drive-in cinema at Lowther Gardens and some poppets from the Pier Beach shop in St Annes.

To say thank you to the army of volunteers, the Fylde community organised a thank you event.

St Annes Beach Apartments donated five beach huts and other groups and organisations, including Fylde Council, provided refreshments and party supplies.

Cllr Roger Small, Deputy Leader and Chairman of Operational Management at Fylde Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results of the Take It, Don’t Leave It initiative which has gone a long way to making people think twice before leaving their litter behind.

“The incredible work carried out by our amazing volunteers, along with our teams from the council, has meant that Fylde has been clean and tidy throughout the summer.

“We wanted to support all our local volunteers with a campaign that would amplify the fantastic work they do all year round and we have had a lot of positive feedback from residents, businesses and visitors.

“The last two years have been the most challenging any of us can remember, with staycations meaning huge numbers have descended on our area.

“The seven day a week sessions carried out by staff, in addition to their normal duties, has been superb.

“We however are hugely grateful to the army of volunteers for their unstinting efforts. We could not have done without you, so from all of us to all of you, a sincere thank you.”

Coastal Conservationist and Marine Medic, Tracey Hope is the lead coordinator for the volunteers and has been supporting the campaign throughout summer.

She said: “During the May half term holiday this year we were inundated with visitors and we saw more litter than ever before, which was heart breaking to see.

“With more people holidaying in the UK this year we were expecting the same during the summer but we think the campaign has made a real difference to the amount of rubbish left behind.

“We saw a significant reduction in litter and a really promising increase in the number of people stepping forward to volunteer – including lots of young people and children – which is fantastic.

“I think that highlighting the plight of marine wildlife really helped and we had lots of people telling us that they didn’t know that we had porpoises, dolphins and seals in our waters.

“There was an increase in visibility in volunteers and council staff and the additional bins and collections played a vital part too.

“On behalf of all the volunteers, I would like to thank Fylde Council for their unwavering support in our fight against litter, this is ‘partnership working’ at its best.

“Everyone really enjoyed our ‘end of season party’ too and again we would like to thank St Annes Beach Huts and everyone else that came together to make it a fantastic day.

“The work doesn’t stop there though and we will continue to be out and about keeping our multi-award-winning beach, and the surrounding areas, clean and tidy every day.”

 


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