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Stratford anti-litter group picks up a community award

A group of volunteer litter pickers from Stratford-upon-Avon, voted runners-up in Orbit's Thriving Communities Awards, are putting their prize money to good use by providing litter pick packs for others to get involved.

Claudia (left) and Becky (right) from Rubbish Friends with Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking & Partnerships Manager at Orbit.

Rubbish Friends was awarded the runners-up prize in Orbit’s Better Days category and received a grant worth £250 to support its work.

Created in 2017 with a vision to bring like-minded and passionate individuals together to keep communities clear of litter for residents and wildlife, Rubbish Friends is a small group that used to meet all year around to pick up discarded litter on the streets, parks and waterways of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Due to the pandemic, however, Rubbish Friends could not meet as it used to, so it has created some litter picking packs which individual members of the community can request and Orbit has funded 20 litter pickers plus a selection of gloves.

Its new Litter Picking Loan Scheme launched this week at the Ken Kennett Centre. To borrow a kit, people must be a member of Rubbish Friends (which is free to join via and have completed a waiver confirming that they are picking litter and disposing of it sensibly and carefully and that they are responsible for their own Health & Safety.

Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager at Orbit, said: “Rubbish Friends is more than just picking up litter - being outdoors, meeting and forming connections with others from the community shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to wellbeing. As the name suggests, valuable friendships are often formed and its work has also brought awareness to more serious issues such as fly tipping and discarded sharps.

“The funding from our Thriving Communities Awards will help Rubbish Friends to continue all its hard work throughout the pandemic by providing litter pick packs for even more people in the local community.”

Claudine, a Trustee of Rubbish Friends, added: “I am delighted that Becky and Stratford-upon-Avon are even less Rubbishy and even more Friendly, thanks to this award. The grant has provided the group with more gloves and pickers, and from October 2020, members can borrow on a long-term loan basis during the continued restrictions of Covid-19.”

Rubbish Friends is now a registered charity with volunteers and has inspired many other local groups to join in in doing their bit for the environment and teams regularly met in Southam, Redditch and further afield.

Orbit is one of the largest housing groups in the country and works with charities and social enterprises to improve local communities. Last year, Orbit invested £5.7m into communities and supported over 3,000 customers through its Better Days programme.

Its annual Thriving Communities Awards celebrate Orbit customers and partners who go the extra mile to make a contribution to their local area or who have made a positive impact on their own lives.  There were three categories which, this year, the public voted on:

  • The Brian Griffiths Award - Orbit customers who have overcome significant social barriers and have transformed their lives.
  • Better Days Award - Orbit customers or groups who have made a positive contribution to their community. The winner will receive funding to support the continuation of their positive work.
  • Stronger Together Award - Orbit supply chain partners who have made a positive contribution to the community.