Sixteen tonnes of bulk rubbish and 120 bags of litter – Wolverton is certainly looking a lot cleaner today.
This huge amount of waste was removed from the town’s streets by 70 volunteers as part of the new ‘Don’t Rubbish Wolverton’ campaign.
More than 12 tonnes of bulky rubbish was tidied up during a two day ‘rubbish amnesty’ on Thursday and Friday – including around 25 mattresses and beds, 20 settees and armchairs and even one dead rat.
Sixty bags of rubbish were collected from outside one Wolverton home.
And over the weekend, volunteers took part in ‘the BIG clean-up,’ a town-wide litter pick.
Among the organisers was Wolverton & Greenleys Town councillor, Marie Osborne.
She said: “It’s been a great weekend, and not just because of the amount of rubbish we’ve managed to clear.
“There has been a fantastic community atmosphere, with long-standing and new residents of all ages getting to know one another and working together for a common aim.
“We’d do it all over again if we weren’t all so exhausted.”
The project is the result of a collaboration between Milton Keynes Council, the town council and volunteers.
Speaking during the bulky waste collection on Friday, Mrs Osborne said: “Everybody’s guilty rubbish secrets have come out. It is a really good example of if you get out there and do something then people will come and engage with you.
“What we have dealt with is historic dumping and fly-tipping.
“It was good for residents to be able to engage with other residents. It is not so threatening for them.
“Some people are ashamed, or feel guilty, or simply can’t deal with their litter.
“Litter is symbolic of social ills. It happens because people’s lives are not functioning well.”
And Thomas Brockway, the neighbourhood management officer for Wolverton, added: “Some people are suffering from depression. Some are elderly or disabled, or don’t know how to get rid of their rubbish.
“Some are hoarders. There was one couple we helped where the gentleman was a hoarder. We took 60 sacks from their front garden.
“It has been about education as well; reminding people that the council can collect bulky waste for a small fee.”
As well as the giant litter pick, the weekend saw free children’s activities provided by Milton Keynes Play Association at Wolverton Community Orchard, and a free buffet lunch for volunteers courtesy of Verandah Talk restaurant.
Volunteer Hannah Kitchen said: “We’ve had a fabulous response from people who, like me, love our town, but are fed-up of a small minority who irresponsibly dump rubbish in the backways and the streets.”
And Verandah Talk owner, Taj Raja, added: “This is a fabulous example of people power and the strong community spirit that exists in Wolverton.”
For more information on the scheme people can log-on on to the Don’t Rubbish Wolverton Facebook page.
For a picture gallery of the Wolverton ‘BIG clean-up’ click here.
> All pictures by Simon Beckett