Aylesbury litter-pickers launch fundraising campaign for electric van to help keep streets clean

The volunteer group was formed in 2019
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Litter-pickers Aylesbury Wombles are appealing to local businesses and residents to help them buy an electric van so they can continue to keep Aylesbury streets rubbish-free.

The volunteer group, which was formed in June 2019, wants to raise enough money to buy a van so it can pick up pre-collected rubbish in the Aylesbury area, as well as use it to store equipment.

It means group members, who cannot get to weekly designated drop-off points, can arrange for the collection to come to them. The group’s equipment would also be consolidated into one place.

Aylesbury Wombles launch fundraising campaign for electric vanAylesbury Wombles launch fundraising campaign for electric van
Aylesbury Wombles launch fundraising campaign for electric van

Aylesbury Wombles chairman Richard Walker, 44, said with lockdown being lifted, many members litter-picked during the week but were now too busy at weekends to bring the rubbish to the drop-offs.

He said: "We’re finding solo wombles are preferring to see family at weekends, or resume the hobbies they haven’t been able to do during lockdown, which is completely understandable.

"We need to make it as easy as possible for them to collect rubbish. If someone had litter they couldn’t drop off, we could go round and pick it up."

He said the group, which aims eventually to get its message about cleaning up and improving the environment into schools, would like to buy a combi electric van, similar to a Nissan e-NV200.

He added: "We’re all about the environment which is why an electric van would be perfect. We don’t need a big van. Something that has enough space to put our equipment in and shift us around.

"A van would help us keep up the group’s energy because during lockdown it was fantastic.

"The group had made a real impact over the last nine months. I don’t want that energy to die."

During this year’s lockdown, members collected more than 100 bags of rubbish a week and during February alone, members collected more than five tonnes of rubbish in 714 bags.

Other items collected included mattresses, cupboards and trolleys. However, the amount of rubbish collected has since fallen as volunteers resume pre-lockdown activities.

Funding for equipment, including jackets, litter picking sticks, hoops, bags and waders, has come from Aylesbury Town Council, Aylesbury Housing Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, Aylesbury Round Table and Morrisons.

The group encourages families, teenagers and children to clear litter and actively welcomes Duke of Edinburgh Award participants.