Wirral Wombles wandering litter-pickers pick up litter wonderfully!

‘Wirral Wombles’ is a Wirral-wide collective of people who pick litter from the highways and byways, pavements and parks, the length and breadth of the borough.

Andrea Cutts and her sister, Lindsey Whitley, founded the Wirral Wombles and birkenhead.news spoke to Andrea about her inspiration and aims for the group.

“We both love the outdoors, and Wirral,” said Andrea of her and her sister. “We have been litter picking in our own small way for a couple of years now.”

“On 15 January this year, we were at Leasowe Nature Reserve, near the pond, partly to litter pick and because we were hoping to see the kingfisher we know to be there.” After clearing several bags of litter, the sisters saw that there was still a lot more to be done. “We chatted about how we could try and reach out to get more people involved through some sort of group.”, Andrea explained.

And of that thought, Lindsey set up a Facebook group called ‘Wirral Wombles’, obviously not knowing quite what would happen. To the sisters’ delight (and no doubt, some surprise) that just a month later, there are over 850 members of the group, some just to cheer on the good work, but many who actively involve themselves in keeping their community litter-free.

Martina Jones is a member of the group. She said, “I joined Wirral Wombles after seeing posts from my friend Lindsey Whitley and her efforts to tidy up Wirral .

“I then began to notice on my dog walks just how much litter there was on the streets. Lindsey gave me the inspiration to start litter picking myself and now I can’t leave the house for a walk without my picker, bag and gloves.”

Andrea said, “I think we have some presence in most parts of the Wirral, including West Kirby, Greasby, Hoylake, Meols, Leasowe, Bidston, Birkenhead, Bromborough, Bebington, Eastham, Heswall, Irby, New Brighton, Wallasey, Upton, Claughton, Willaston, Woodchurch, and Hooton.”, Andrea said, reeling off a list of towns from all parts of Wirral, showing the extent to which the group has grown in a short space of time.

Johanna Vaghena and her son (pictured) had a successful day of Wombling!

My 11-year-old son and I have been doing lots of walking over the lockdown. As lovely as the walks have been it’s also been really sad and soul-destroying to see how much litter there is all over our beautiful peninsula.

We joined the Wirral Wombles and ordered our litter pickers and we’re hoping to make a small contribution to cleaning up our environment! It’s also a good lesson for my son and he’s really encouraged when people stop to talk to us and thank us for our effort.

Johanna Vaghena

Families with their children as young as about 3 years-old and more mature residents in their 80s have been taking part, so it really is an activity for all ages. Not only does it help keep public areas tidy, but it is a healthy activity to pursue – good for the mind and body.

The sisters haven’t just been encouraging individuals to join in and help. Their dad, Keith (Great Uncle Bulgaria, in Wombling circles!) has had great success in persuading a local supermarket as a result of him contacting them about litter on a nearby path. “The supermarket management have ordered a new bin and litter picking equipment for their staff “, Andrea said proudly.

The group is a real mixture of those that were already litter picking and many more who have been inspired since Wirral Wombles started. “Myself and Lindsey are determined to stay positive and the feeling we get from lovely comments posted in the Facebook group every day is heartwarming and uplifting!”, Andrea said.

Joy Christine Ramsay collecting litter during a family walk.

I joined last week. We always go litter picking (we did 3 bags today at New Brighton.) A friend suggested I join the Wirral Wombles group and so here I am!

I love making a difference to our local area which we regularly go to and also keeping the environment tidy.

A man on the beach today even said thank you to me!

Joy Christine Ramsay

Claire Brandwood at the council is supplying the group equipment to distribute to individual members and they are having a ‘meeting’ with her next week to discuss ways forward.

Andrea said, “Our attitude is that, yes we need the council to do their bit, but they do not drop the litter and we need as many people as possible to realise we all have a part to play in looking after our environment.”

Fiona Brett Blything with two bags of litter she collected.

I am just SO pleased to know that there is a virtual (and real) team of people who care about our environment living on the Wirral!

I think we have all been walking more locally during lockdown and I have been so shocked at the litter, I have been feeling all along it was important to get going and pick whatever I could up.

Really grateful to everyone involved … thank you so much for really getting this going for us all.

Fiona Brett Blything

The group has cleared at least 235 full bags of litter, estimated at around 540kg. That’s a lot of litter to collect in such a short space of time and really goes to show the enthusiasm and commitment from those involved.

Joining in couldn’t be easier. There is no commitment; you can litter-pick as often or as little as you like and you can choose your own location. If you would like to find out more, you can join their Facebook group and join the Wirral Wombles community, to keep up to date with the great work that they do.