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The volunteer teams filling thousands of rubbish bags cleaning up New Forest streets

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Lisa Carter of Team Totton litter pickers
Lisa Carter of Team Totton litter pickers

THOUSANDS of bags of rubbish are being collected by volunteers who dedicate their time to clearing litter from New Forest streets.

One of the groups is Team Totton, which was formed by resident Lisa Carter during the first lockdown, when she was furloughed from her job.

Since then, the town’s volunteers have grown to around 30 who Lisa estimates collect around 100 bags of rubbish per week.

During one particularly busy day, the group filled 42 bags of rubbish from local verges, which weighed more than 169kg.

She told the A&T that some members had found the group to be literally lifesaving, with one man’s diabetes improving due to the additional exercise and another saying his loneliness had eased from being isolated because of the pandemic.

Lisa initially funded the group herself, but a recent online fundraiser gathered over £1,800 in donations, which will be spent on hi-vis vests, gloves and other litter-picking equipment.

She said: “I am really proud of the volunteers and what they have achieved and the purpose it gives us. The support from the community has been wonderful.”

Meanwhile in Copythorne the Parish Pickers, who were founded in 2019, recently filled their 1,000th bag of rubbish.

The group had filled 500 bags of rubbish in their first year-and-a-half – which, with more volunteers joining up, doubled in just the next seven months.

Group secretary Martin Lander told the A&T: “Covid restrictions meant that the weekly Sunday group litter pick had to be abandoned and pickers are now using their permitted exercise to keep the parish clean. Most days now there is someone from the team out there picking litter.

“Areas with special litter problems such as Ower district, the motorway junction and our many lay-bys that might have been tackled once every four weeks are now being picked on a weekly basis.

“Litter cannot be eliminated – some ignorant person can throw their rubbish around the countryside within five minutes of it being litter picked. But until littering is seen as socially unacceptable getting out there and picking it up is the only option.”

To donate to Team Totton visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamtotton2021

For more information about the Copythorne Parish Pickers visit parishpickers.co.uk

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