Determined litter pickers clean up town's problem streets

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group has been working hard to clean up the town

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group has been working hard to clean up the town - Credit: Laura Steward

A group of determined litter pickers have made it their mission to clean up some of Dereham's dirtiest streets. 

Dereham Community Litter Pick Group has been meeting on a regular basis in a bid to tidy up the town. 

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group hard at work in the town

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group hard at work in the town - Credit: Laura Steward

Gathering once a fortnight at Queen Mother's Garden, members old and young have collected dozens of bags of rubbish over the past few months. 

The group was the brainchild of Laura Steward, who teamed up with Morrisons community champion, Leanne Jarman, with a view to making Dereham a more pleasant place to live.

"Litter picking is something my family and I have always done," said Mrs Steward.

"Then, during lockdown, it was something we could do on our daily walks.

Laura Steward, from Dereham, pictured with her daughter, Holly

Laura Steward, from Dereham, pictured with her daughter, Holly - Credit: Laura Steward

"Leanne asked whether there were any litter-picking groups so, between us, we have created one. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time."

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Already the band of pickers has established a core group of 13 regulars who turn up every week, but anyone is welcome to join. 

Members are encouraged to hunt for litter in areas of their choosing, although the Safari Way footpath has proved particularly problematic. 

"It is largely a case of trial and error," added Mrs Steward.

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group meets once a fortnight

The Dereham Community Litter Pick Group meets once a fortnight - Credit: Laura Steward

"For the first pick we went to The Rec, but there's a couple who come every week and do Yaxham Road.

"Safari Way footpath has always been a problem. Some of our pickers went in the ditch a few weeks ago and came out with five or six bags full of litter."

With the group now a firm fixture, Mrs Steward hopes more people will be inspired to keep their town clean.

"It is frustrating that the community is having to do this because of people who are littering - it drives me mad," said the 38-year-old.

Members of the Dereham Community Litter Pick Group with the rubbish they have collected

Members of the Dereham Community Litter Pick Group with the rubbish they have collected - Credit: Laura Steward

"On the other hand, I find it quite therapeutic. We do it when we go to the beach, and we've even done it on holiday in Scotland. 

"If everyone who went out walking had a litter pick with them, just think how much cleaner the place would be."

Mrs Steward's daughter, Holly, is undertaking a challenge to complete 20 miles of litter picking by the end of the year.

She has already raised more than £500 for Stand Up To Cancer. To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/holly-litterpick.

Laura Steward's daughter, Holly, is undertaking a challenge to complete 20 miles of litter picking

Laura Steward's daughter, Holly, is undertaking a challenge to complete 20 miles of litter picking - Credit: Courtesy of Laura Steward


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