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                                      LitterFree Durham’s
                           Big Spring Clean 19 March to 16 April 2011
                    A Friendly Guide to Organising a Litter Pick in County Durham
The difficult part of setting up a Litter Pick is to find 3 or 4 people to start a group. Once you have found
them you are half-way there.
Both LitterFree Durham and Durham County Council are ready to help you organise and carry out a litter
pick. But during the Big Spring Clean you must first agree a date with LitterFree Durham. This is to
avoid clashes with other Picks which might cause problems with the loan of equipment and the
collection of full rubbish bags.
Litter Picks for adults should probably not last longer than two hours. If most of the pickers are children
one hour may be plenty.
It is useful to obtain some or all of the six items listed below. They can be borrowed from Durham
County Council although availability differs slightly according to the Area in which you are located (see
below). As a back-up they can also be borrowed from LitterFree Durham, but first try the County Council
       Litter pickers (sticks for picking up litter)
       Bags for rubbish (not available from LitterFree Durham)
       Hi viz jackets – particularly important if you are going to pick on roads.
       Hoops for holding the rubbish bags open - otherwise on a windy day you may have to work in
         pairs, one person holding the bag while the other picks the rubbish (not available from DCC
         North Area).
       Gloves. People should definitely be discouraged from picking up litter with bare hands due to the
         risk of sharp edges, broken glass, dog dirt and the like. For a small group you can tell people to
         bring their own, but for a larger group it is sensible to provide them.
       Goggles. If you are going to pick in hedges or under bushes it is a good idea to protect eyes
         from twigs and thorns. In general, people don’t like wearing goggles, and may choose not to do
         so, but if possible they should be given the option (not available from DCC North Area nor from
         LitterFree Durham)
To contact LitterFree Durham:
email or call or text 0757 253 1725

To contact Durham County Council get in touch with the Senior Pride Officer (see below) for your
area, preferably by email but, if that doesn’t work, by phone. You will need to collect from the regional
depot any equipment you borrow and return it (except for full bags of litter) after the Pick.

                      East area (formerly Durham City and Easington District)
              Senior Pride Officer: Pauline Walker email or
                                          phone 0191 5274348
                Depot: Building 9, Council Offices, Seaside Lane, Easington SR8 3TN

                  North area (formerly Chester-le-Street and Derwentside Districts)
             Senior Pride Officer: Helen Douglas email or or phone 01207 218654
      Depot: Morrison Busty Depot, Annfield Plain DH9 7RX. (It is located on the Annfield Plain to
             Lanchester road A6076, just south of the roundabout outside Annfield Plain.)

              South area (formerly Sedgefield, Wear Valley and Teesdale Districts)
Senior Pride Officer: Clare Hubbard email or
                                       phone 01388 824015
                  Depot: Chilton Depot, Chilton Industrial Estate, Chilton DL17 0SD

It is recommended that you arrange insurance cover against third party liability – that is against claims
that your negligence has caused an accident. Such a claim could arise, for instance, if one of your
group stepped onto a road to pick a piece of litter and caused a vehicle to swerve which resulted in an
There are several ways in which this insurance can be obtained:
        If there is a Parish or Town Council where you live (and you intend picking in the same area) they
        may already have an insurance policy which will cover you. If so, this should be your first choice.
        The same applies if there is a Community Partnership in your area.
        If LitterFree Durham organises the Pick on your behalf, insurance cover is available without
        charge through its parent body Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). In this case
        LitterFree Durham will still expect you to play the major part in arranging the Pick. To contact
        LitterFree Durham see under ‘Equipment’ above.
        Durham County Council may also be able to provide free insurance cover if a member of staff is
        able to attend. This will involve a member of staff visiting the proposed site with you before the
        Pick, agreeing a Risk Assessment with you, and being present throughout the Pick.
        Finally, you could buy insurance through Tennyson Insurance Ltd for a minimum cost of £75,
        which would cover over 100 person-days of litter picking. Contact or 0845 600 31384 or Tennyson Insurance Ltd, Drayton
        House, Chichester, PO20 3184.
To get insurance cover someone will have to carry out a risk assessment. And even when insurance is
sorted, it is still sensible to think about possible dangers and how best to avoid them, particularly if
children are involved.
In many areas traffic may be the biggest danger. If traffic is very heavy you may conclude that you
should pick elsewhere. If it is quite heavy or the road verges are narrow, you may decide that pickers
should only pick facing the oncoming traffic - so one verge will be picked walking in one direction and
the other walking in the opposite direction. A different point: pickers should be discouraged from
crossing roads unnecessarily.
Remember to look out for hypodermic syringes left by drug users. Pickers should not pick these but
mark them in some way; then report them to the organiser who in turn should report them to the Local
It’s a good idea to finish up with some refreshments if possible. Picking can be a lonely business even if
you are working with someone as a pair. A cup of tea and a bun in the village hall, or a pint in the pub,
or a drink from a thermos by somebody’s car (weather permitting) can induce a sense of community as
you swop horror stories about the litter you have picked up. This will affect people’s enjoyment of their
outing, and how they feel about doing another Pick some time in the future.
First Aid
An accident is always possible but usually it is a minor one. It is sensible for someone (for a small Pick
probably the organiser) to have a basic first aid kit available either in a pocket or in the car – even just
some sticking plaster for patching a scratch and some tweezers for removing a thorn. And just in case of
something more serious you should know the location of the nearest hospital with an A&E department.
Mobile Phones
If you have a mobile, take it with you. Give your number to anyone else who is carrying one, so that they
can get in touch with you if anything untoward happens.
List of people participating
If more than a few people are involved it is a good idea to ask them to ‘sign in’ before the Pick starts and
‘sign out’ when they leave. This is particularly useful if you do not know everyone personally. A sheet of
paper on a clipboard is fine. When signing in they should write their name legibly and give a mobile or
landline contact number. At the end of the Pick if someone fails to sign out you need to discover
whether they have gone home in a huff or whether they are still hobbling out there with a sprained ankle.
So always make sure everyone is checked off your list at the end.
Evaluation Form
Before the Pick we shall send you an Evaluation Form. Please return it after the Pick so that we can
learn how you got on. And we should very much like to receive any photos you care to send us.

                                    Best Wishes and Good Picking!


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