Mum takes action over litter in her Doncaster village

Doncaster mum of three Bex Shaw was fed up with the litter she saw on the way to her job in the morning.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 08:30 am
Updated Thursday, 17th January 2019, 14:40 pm
Volunteers Samantha Williams, Bex Shaw, group founder and Dylan Williams, 11, pictured. Picture: NDFP-01-12-18-GreenTeam-3

She was working in a shop on Balby Road, and see the rubbish in the gutters and on the grass verges. On other occasions she would drive into Balby along the country lanes from Edlington and be saddened by the amount of litter along those.

She would call the authorities to complain, but the problem remained.

Volunteers Samantha Williams, Bex Shaw, group founder and Dylan Williams, 11, pictured. Picture: NDFP-01-12-18-GreenTeam-3

So Bex Shaw decided to take matters into her own hands. She had cleaned up areas before, having tidied along canal banks as a volunteer with the Canal and River Trust in her younger days

Bex, aged 40, from Balby, initially set up a social media group asking for people to help her with a clean-up.

And back in March, she held her first clean-up, at Hexthorpe Park, under the name of Doncaster Green Team.

It coincided with Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean.

Doncaster Greeen Team volunteers pictured at Hexthorpe Park. Back l-r Rue Middleton, ten, Sam Middleton, Belle Middleton, three, Samantha Williams, Patrick Hill, Bex Shaw, group founder and Zach Murray, 12. Front l-r Noah Murray, ten, Faye Murray, eight, Mila Middleton, seven and Dylan Williams, 11. Picture: NDFP-01-12-18-GreenTeam-1

'The first one was just me and some friends,' she said. 'It snowed on the day we'd originally planned, so we had to put it back a couple of weeks.

'That was only a small clean up, because we'd only just started. But the second was much bigger.

'We put it on social media, and had about 50 people coming out to take part. It was at the Woodfield Plantation estate, around the park and the woods near the big supermarket petrol station.

'We got around 80 bags of litter. There was even a man who came along with a pair of waders. He got all sorts of things out of a pond there. There must have been about 20 footballs, a shopping trolley, a brief case and plastic cones.'

Bex is trying to organise a clean-up every month. It is not just in and around Balby that she is looking to run them, and says she he is looking at tidying up further afield as well.

But so far they have been local. There has since been another tidy-up at Hexthorpe Park, a second at Woodfield Plantation and a clear up near what was Balby Carr School, now known as Astrea Academy Woodfield.

'It feels great if you get a big turn out,' said Bex. 'It feels like the whole community is coming together to make a difference.'

The council has loaned her equipment like litter pickers, hoops and bags, and collects the rubbish after it has been collected.

But now it has issued the Doncaster Green Team with a grant, so that it has its own equipment, also including high visibility vests.

She is one of around four or five regular members of the group, and also does voluntary work at St John's Church at Greenfield Lane.

She has also joined the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, and has become an ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy.

In the future she wants to start doing talks in local schools to raise awareness of litter as an issue and the harm that dropping rubbish can do to wildlife.

She would also like to plant wild flowers in the grass verges along Balby Road, to make them more attractive. She thinks if the grass verges were more attractive, people would think twice before littering them.

She thinks getting businesses to sponsor them may help.

She also fancies running a clean-up at Sandall Beat Woods.

'It's not just about people '“ it's about wildlife too,' she said. 'You hear about animals eating plastic that has been dropped, and hedgehogs getting empty cans stuck on their heads.'

Bex has got her won children, Faye, eight, Noah, 10, and Zach, 12, involved with her work, and they help her on her tidies.

Zach goes to XP School at Middle Bank, and the school has made enquiries about her speaking to pupils at the school.