Loving where they live - Great Yarmouth’s Beachcare volunteers keeping coastline clean
PUBLISHED: 10:42 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:42 29 July 2014
The summer season is in full swing, bringing hoardes of holidaymakers to Great Yarmouth’s golden beaches.
Unforunately more people means more litter and more work for a volunteer group whose members give up their time and effort to keep the coastline looking its best.
A small band of residents formed a Beachcare group in 2012 with support from Great Yarmouth Borough Council and staff from the local HSBC bank.
The nationwide scheme, managed by Keep Britain Tidy and funded by Anglia Water, encourages people to ‘adopt’ a stretch of coastline and help maintain its natural beauty.
So every month the Yarmouth Beachcare group gather at Munchies Café and coordinate a litter pick at North Denes, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
Group leader Lisa Crook, who is also waste and recycling communications officer for the borough council, said: “The volunteers’ unfailing dedication to the area and pride in the work that they undertake every month come rain or shine is truly breath taking. We have a fantastic mix of those who will turn up every session and those who are able to make just the one but between them they have collected an astounding amount of litter.”
North Denes is home to a breeding colony of the little tern seabirds, as well as seals.
Praising the Beachcare volunteers as they get their hands dirty over the summer holidays, Pamela Abbott, Natural England’s area manager for Norfolk, said: “They are doing a fabulous job and play an essential role in maintaining this fragile site. North Denes is an extremely important site containing a number of different rare dune habitats - these support a diverse range of plants and animals, such as the nationally scarce grey hair-grass.
Describing the stretch of coastline as “a botanist’s dream, the bird watcher’s heaven, the entomologist’s playground and more importantly a place where anyone and everyone can come and appreciate nature”, Robert Martyr, Beachcare project officer for Keep Britain Tidy, said he is keen for the locals who give up their time to pick up old cans, crisp packets, broken glass and other rubbish that finds its way onto the dunes to get the praise they deserve.
“The group represents the power of community spirit and that loving nature and loving where you live goes beyond social boundaries,” he said.
“Sadly, litter and rubbish is all too often dumped along the coastline around Great Yarmouth causing a very real danger to wildlife.
“Litter creates a less welcoming environment and enjoyment from the natural environment can be lost. The Beachcare group is testament that communities can set up active volunteer groups to address these issues.”
To find out more, search for the ‘Great Yarmouth Beachcare’ page on Facebook.