Cleaning up Yate for a good cause
A SIX-year-old girl from Yate has cleaned up her neighbourhood – and raised more than £700 for charity at the same time.
The idea for the sponsored litter pick was born during lockdown, when Ava-Rose Krekelaar became obsessed with the WaterAid advert on television.
Mum Stacey Oakley said: “She was begging me daily to donate money to them and asking relatives for £2 so she could send them money.
"A couple of times she paused the TV and came to tell me she had saved the number for me to call them.”
Stacey and her mum Julie Oakley had a brainstorm about what Ava-Rose could do herself to support the charity, and hit on the idea of a litter pick because it’s something she loves doing with her five-year-old sister Aurora-Grace.
They felt it would also help give back to their community, clean up the planet, and get the girls out for their daily exercise.
Stacey set up a Facebook fundraising page immediately, four weeks ahead of their May start date. Family and friends quickly showed their support and £300 was raised before the girls had even left the house with their litter pickers.
Every day throughout May the two girls were out for an hour collecting litter, in all weathers.
Ava-Rose remained just as motivated throughout the month as when she first started.
Stacey said: “She feels that if she has clean water then everyone should have clean water. She likes the fact that she’s raising money for something that she cares about.
“We’ve explained WaterAid to her and what they do, she watched some videos about it, we explained that she was helping our community as well.
"We are at the point now that wherever we walk, she spots litter. She’s done videos about her litter picks and she’s asked for her own YouTube channel.”
The initial fundraising target was £100, but as the Voice went to press Ava-Rose had raised over £720 from 64 donors, with her enthusiasm unabated: the girls have decided to continue collecting litter weekly.
WaterAid UK hopes to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene available to everyone globally by 2030.
Volunteers are joining together in a big push to clear Chipping Sodbury, Yate and the surrounding area of litter.
The Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury is organising a day of action on Sunday June 6, when club members will join with the Sodbury and Yate Clean Up group, local schools, youth groups and other organisations and individuals to clear up as much litter as possible in a focused effort.
Club president Stuart Fraser said the club decided to make litter clearance a local community project, inspired by a Rotary global initiative launched in 2018. The event takes place on Rotary's End Plastic Soup Action Day.
He said: "In practical terms, the Rotary movement, under the banner of 'End Plastic Soup', wishes to create awareness in local communities, taking on a project to clean up streets, parks and countryside, providing an excellent opportunity to recruit community minded volunteers.
"We live in a plastic age, one that threatens to destroy the earth’s ecosystem.
"Our contribution is designed to raise the awareness of this threat."
Sodbury and Yate Clean Up leader Sarah White said the group was glad to be part of the event.
She said: "During lockdown, despite the challenges we are all facing, a huge number of people went out and made a difference to our community.
"We want to keep this momentum by encouraging everyone to join in, even if it’s just cleaning around their street.
"It all adds up, creating a safer home for us and our wildlife.
"Thank you to everyone involved who goes out litter picking. It truly makes a difference, and your effort is appreciated."
For more information about joining the clean up, email email@example.com or visit @sodburyrotary on Facebook.
People are being advised to use pickers and water-resistant garden gloves, wear suitable clothing and avoid fast, busy roads and steep slopes, and to sort anything collected into their recycling if possible.
Large or dangerous items should be left alone and reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.