Recruitment drive launched to clean Leith streets

Gerry Farrell has amassed almost 700 volunteers to tidy up Leith. Picture: Jane Barlow
Gerry Farrell has amassed almost 700 volunteers to tidy up Leith. Picture: Jane Barlow
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IT’S the grassroots campaign to kick Leith into shape and make littering a thing of the past.

Now a huge recruitment drive has been launched to encourage Leithers to get involved and join the push to clean up their streets.

Spearheaded by marketing guru Gerry Farrell – the man behind Irn-Bru’s famous “phenomenal” ads – Leithers Don’t Litter took to Leith Walk earlier this week to rally residents to the cause.

More than 60 people have now added their name to the list of volunteers – and with 600 signed up on the official Facebook page, an army of locals is now building ahead of the first mass litter pick in mid-October.

The campaign is a response to concerns the area is drowning in rubbish, with the latest Keep Scotland Beautiful figures showing cleanliness standards in Leith are slipping.

Using an array of initiatives including litter picks and educational visits to schools, the new drive hopes to turn the situation around and encourage a change in attitude.

Gerry said: “We have 600 on the Facebook page and with the 65 yesterday, that’s almost 700. That’s quite a big litter pick if we get them all out.

“If we keep the momentum up and we keep getting the publicity, we will have a really good support.

“Obviously we need to get a complete mindset change of attitude – that it’s wrong to litter and it’s wrong to let your dog foul on the street.

“But we’re doing concrete things as well, like meeting with the council to see what they can do.”

Leithers Don’t Litter has already secured a £200 sponsorship deal from the Port of Leith Housing Association to buy 1000 badges advertising the cause.

Children from Leith Academy have signed up to get involved as part of a school project in the coming months.

The Evening News revealed last month that cleanliness in the city centre and Leith had fallen below national standards, with just 87 per cent of streets up to scratch compared with 95 per cent city-wide.

Council chiefs said efforts were now being focused on the area, with Gerry’s new campaign attracting widespread support from city leaders.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, said: “I welcome this campaign and am keen to meet with Gerry to discuss how the council can support him.

“Community groups and clean-up events play an important role in helping us to keep Edinburgh’s streets clean and tidy.

“This is also a great way to raise awareness and get more local people involved in improving their neighbourhood.

“Our street cleansing teams do a great job but they can’t be everywhere at once so it is vital that people take responsibility for their own litter and dispose of it responsibly.

“Cleanliness scores for Leith are increasing but there is room for improvement, so I hope that residents will support this campaign and council initiatives to create a cleaner, greener local environment for everyone.”