Elaine Beesley, a web developer at Edge Hill University, helped set up Burscough Litter Pickers and the group is going from strength to strength four years on.
Meeting twice a month, members come together to keep their community spotless and can collect as many as 30 bags of rubbish on a busy day.
Since being founded in 2018, the group has grown from a small number of core volunteers and now boasts 40 members getting involved.
Elaine said: “A few of us were already picking litter in the area, when a local councillor asked if we would be interested in setting up a group. We decided to go ahead and over the last four years we have got bigger and bigger.
“All the way through Covid and the lockdowns we kept going in our own areas. It was good because a lot of the members were worried that the group was going to fade away.
“For us, it’s not just about litter picking. It brings people together as a community and has had a really positive impact on mental health as well.
“The cost to the council of collecting just one bag is about £40. On one day we can get anywhere between 20 to 30 bags of litter and it’s been estimated that we’ve saved the council about £40,000 since we started.
“We’re very proud of the area we all live in. It’s a wonderful place and the spirit of the community really shines through. We only have one planet so it’s important to look after it and make sure it’s still here for those who come after us.”
As well as her day-to-day role, Elaine also volunteers as wellbeing ambassador and sustainability champion for her department at Edge Hill.
She helped establish the University’s Bike Locker User Group to provide people with a secure location to store their bike and encourage people to cycle to campus wherever possible.
Elaine is also co-leader with responsibility for communications and media of SustainNET, which was established in February 2020 as a network community of individuals at Edge Hill University who are passionate about sustainability.
Formed with the support of the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR), it seeks to advance the sustainability agenda both on campus and in our region on four interconnected fronts, namely research, education, student engagement and local community partnership.
Edge Hill actively encourages students to volunteer, recognising it can boost employment options and provide a great opportunity to give something back to the community, make friends and find out more about the local area.
Through Edge Hill’s extensive third sector network, more than 200 organisations have benefitted from students interested in volunteering. The Careers Vacancy Portal lists dozens of volunteering opportunities and the Extra Edge employability programme rewards students for engagement in voluntary or part-time work.
The Student Opportunity Fund operated by the University can even help students with costs for some volunteering activities. Volunteers’ Week takes place 1-7 June every year. It’s a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and to say thank you.
To discover more about courses at Edge Hill, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.