Writing about the #iheartforestgate campaign reminded me that there are plenty of people who care about making our local area more clean and tidy. Perhaps none more so than Misty, a hugely hard-working local resident who runs ‘tidy our flats’ to help make Wanstead Flats a more beautiful place.
Rather than try to summarise this rather brilliant scheme, I asked Misty if she would do a quick blog interview with us about it. And she did. Read on for more…
What is #tidyourflats all about?
#TidyOurFlats is a volunteer group that meets monthly on Wanstead Flats to remove help remove rubbish. Anyone is welcome from babies to pensioners….it is supported by City of London.
Why did you start it up?
We live in Forest Gate, I feel very privileged to have such a large open green space in London, Often going on a run or walk, I was so sad to see the unprecedented amount of rubbish while jogging around the parks.
What happens at one of the monthly litter picks?
Everyone is asked to sign in so that they’re insured in the unlikely case of any injury, then people are given gloves, litter-pickers and rubbish bags. We try and attack different areas each month. Talking to people while walking around is a great way to educate people that litter is bad for the environment. It is also really bad to feed birds bread as it attracts rats and is causing algae on our ponds – unless it is an ice-cold winter the Flats have ample food!
What has been the high point for you?
We were given a grant by Newham Council “Get The Party Started” and hosted a BBQ for all the volunteers in the Summer, everyone made a salad and Michael Saunders our local celebrity chef (and his gorgeous wife) marinated and cooked all the meat. It was truly delicious, if you live locally you should go to one of his dinners – invitetosupper.com.
We also helped planting the new shrubs at Jubilee Pond which was brilliant!
Just the sheer amount of rubbish we pick up each time! So sad that people are too lazy to take their rubbish home with them when they obviously enjoy visiting Epping Forest.
What is the strangest thing anyone has ever found?
We’ve found everything, washing machine drums to motor-bikes – when I was cleaning the pond (in Summer we have waders) I found a safe but unfortunately it was already open, so no treasure!
What next for #tidyourflats?
We will be continue to meet every 2nd Sunday of the month at Bandstand Pond (Capel/Woodford Rd) at 11am throughout 2015 – follow my Twitter @EccentricLDNer as it is expanding to meet outside the Golden Fleece (Capel Road, Manor Park) too on another weekend.
How can people get involved?
People just need to turn up, we will give you everything you need. If you can join for 30mins or two hours – every little bit – really does help!
Thanks so much for being interviewed, Misty, and of course for the work you do helping to improve the Flats. We hope some readers of this blog will want to come along and join the next litter pick.
(If anyone reading this is interested in applying for a Let’s Get the Party Started grant, then you can find information about the grant online here, or you can go to the Gate library and speak to Glennette.)