Salford mum, Fiona Bannerman, and her six-year-old daughter are ‘on a mission’ to get rid of Swinton litter, after noticing how bad it has become on their daily walks to school.
After posting in the ‘Swinton People‘ Facebook group about the work they’ve been doing, they’ve received an incredibly positive reaction of over 700 likes, and a plethora of comments expressing their gratitude.
Fiona said: “When I’m taking my daughter to school, we’re always walking past rubbish, and my little girl doesn’t like rubbish either. So, I said to her, we’ll apply to the council and see if we can get the equipment to clean it up.
“Mainly, it’s because we’re sick of walking through the streets and there’s just rubbish everywhere. It just drags the area down and I just think it needs tidying up.
“I know there’s a group of people doing it as well, but I just wanted to do it because I hate walking past it, and to be honest, its actually turned out to be a really nice hobby for me.”
However, the massive reaction was not expected, and Fiona expressed how amazed she was with all the support.
“I was really surprised by the reaction because it wasn’t my idea to make the post on Facebook. It was my mum’s idea, and I said that I don’t really want praise or anything, that’s not why I’m doing it. But I thought, ‘okay yeah, I’ll post it, I’ll probably get a couple of likes’ but I was very very surprised with how many people have been thanking me.
“Whilst we’re on the street, we’ve had a few people who we didn’t know where in the Swinton Litter Picker group, and they’ve stopped and spoken to us, and we’ve also had random people saying, ‘thank you, you’re doing a great job’.
“When you hear that, it makes you feel really good about what you’re doing, and it just makes you want to carry on. I have honestly been quite surprised to be honest because there’s a lot of people backing it”
Fiona and her daughter have even received thank you gifts, left behind by locals.
So far, they have been focusing locally. Mainly, down alleyways, the paths they take to walk to school, churchyards, and around bushes. However, she’s aware that the clean streets won’t last forever.
“You can go and clean it, and then the next day there will be more rubbish, so it’s quite bad. There’s obviously a lot of people not using rubbish bins and just throwing stuff willy-nilly wherever they want.”
“I just think people should think about other people who live in their area. Think about even dog owners that have to walk their dogs over broken glass. You’ve got to think about the whole community. Just use your brain, carry your litter to the nearest bin, bins are literally everywhere. I just think what they are doing is very selfish and I just wish that they would just think, and just use a bin”
Not only is Fiona doing this to clear up the streets, but she’s also found that it can be a great way to spend some quality time with her daughter.
“She does enjoy doing it, don’t get me wrong, she can get bored, but she does enjoy doing it with me. She sees it as an activity that we do together, it’s good for bonding.
“She doesn’t like littering; she’s always known not to litter. She sees people who litter as being lazy and she knows it’s a naughty thing to do. She also feels really good about what we’re doing, when we manage to get a couple of bags full, she’s really proud of it, so yeah, she’s really on board.”
Fiona believes that all parents should be educating their children against littering, and more children should be encouraged to keep their streets tidy, as it “ultimately comes down to education from parents.
“I believe that is where it should start. If you’re one of these people that do litter, your children are going to copy you. It must start at home, as a parent you are a big influence.
“I want to join a local litter picking group, and I’m actually thinking of starting my own. I’m thinking of starting one with parents and children. I think that would be quite a good, positive thing because children could do it with friends, and it’s obviously educational.
“I would love to do this long term; I would literally do this for the rest of my life because I really enjoy doing it.”
Fiona encourages anyone to help out with clearing their streets of litter. However, If you want to get involved with a Salford group that is doing this, you can visit Salford Litter Heroes for more information.
You can watch part of the interview with Fiona here: