The Reading Adopt Your Street (RAYS) programme was introduced by Reading Borough Council (RBC) in March. The Whitley Pump discussed the programme with councillor Liz Terry, RBC lead member for neighbourhoods.
The impetus for the scheme came from RBC neighbourhood staff within the streetcare team. Street clean ups, such as those carried out in Katesgrove, proved popular with residents who wanted more opportunities and help with resources to participate. The council made a bid for a grant from Tescos Bags of Help, a community scheme funded by the five pence charge for plastic carrier bags. The scheme is administered for Tescos by the charity Groundwork.
RBC are keen to stress that this is not a replacement for street cleaning, but with current budget cuts it is unlikely that deep cleans such as that in Highgrove Street (pictured) will be possible. Willing local residents are being asked to help with maintaining this level of cleanliness and tidiness in their area.
Councillor Terry said:
When I became lead councillor for neighbourhoods, one of the things I was keen on… was a deal with people. We (RBC) should maintain a certain standard but we need people to not drop litter and use the bins. If they did that, it would be a lot better wouldn’t it?
She is confident about the success of the programme and is only concerned that the limited amount of money available this year may not meet the demand or sustain the scheme into the future.
I know it will be a success because it is just a really good idea and I already know people want to sign up to it. Also in my role, I have met people in local communities who already take responsibility for parts of their open space or the area in front of them. I have that sense of belief in people; that there are good people out there.
My concern is that this is an initiative. It’s come from some money that Tescos have given us, and that’s a jolly good thing, but probably not very sustainable. There will come a point where we have reached capacity; the £10,000 will only stretch so far.
The £10,000 budget will pay for the equipment supplied by RBC as well as a part-time co-ordinator, Ricky Josey, who will distribute the equipment to people. He will also arrange when clean ups are to take place and will send in reports afterwards.
The scheme in practice
Participants will complete a registration pack and will receive a ‘Safe Guide to Litter Picking’. They will be expected to commit to carry out a clean up once a month, on average, in the year to March 2018. On successful completion, at the end of the year, their street can receive a sign which shows the adopter’s or group’s name.
Volunteers will report to the council on how much litter was collected, how many people took part, and on any items that need to be collected by the council. Ordinary litter will be put into litter bins or into the volunteers’ own grey bins.
Reading Borough Council will:
- supply litter picking equipment including safety vests, litter bags, gloves and litter pickers,
- provide third party liability insurance for any injury and property damage as long as the guidelines in the ‘Safe Guide to Litter Picking’ has been followed,
- supply and install a ‘Reading Adopt Your Street’ sign with the adopter’s or group’s name on it, which will be installed in March 2018,
- collect litter picking equipment, either at the end of the RAYS project, or earlier if volunteers agree,
- keep your personal data safe and not share it with anyone outside of the RAYS team.
If you are interested in taking part in the scheme contact:
phone: 01189 373534.
Katesgrove’s rubbish problems
Local residents are not just concerned about litter but with continuing rubbish dumping problems and overflowing bins in Katesgrove.
“We are working our way through the new service standards and people are going to have to learn,” said councillor Terry. “Landlords and businesses have slightly different rules. We are working on rethinking some of those areas.”
She takes a hard line on fly tipping and says that regular fly tippers will be prosecuted if they can be identified. She added that from 1 April there were two dedicated enforcement officers on two year fixed term contracts working to maintain these standards, to investigate fly tipping and to prosecute offenders.
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