KEIGHLEY residents are being urged to adopt small areas of their neighbourhood to keep clean.

They are being invited to join community-minded people who already clear litter from streets and pavements near their homes.

The Clean Streets of Keighley East will operate in Riddlesden, East Morton, West Morton, Sandbeds, Stockbridge, Marley, Thwaites Brow, Long Lee, Parkwood, Hainworth Wood and a small part of Ingrow.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Keighley East councillor Caroline Firth and is based on Clean Streets of Shipley, which was set up by her friend Sarah Cartin.

The Keighley version will be based around a Facebook page recognising the community spirit of people who pick up litter, and showing them that they are not alone.

New volunteers can send a direct private message to The Clean Streets of Keighley East on Facebook and claim a street, or part of one. Organisers then put a red line on a map to show the area that has been claimed. No names or personal details are made public.

Cllr Firth is working on the project with Plastic Free East Morton’s Christine Bell, town councillor Christine Chapman, Riddlesden Toad Patrol, Big Local development worker Shaun O’Hare, and Be The Change’s Viky Sutcliffe.

Mrs Bell said: "It's frustrating that there's so much littering, but this project highlights what lots of local people are already doing - taking pride in where we live and picking up a bit of rubbish as we go."

Clean Streets was launched at Keighley's recent Eco-Jumble, an event combining a jumble sale and environmentally friendly activities.

Sue Hammond, of East Morton, and Dianne Cross, of Riddlesden, hosted a stall with Cllr Firth that included a chance to ask questions, and to have a go at a timed litter pick against a friend.

Mrs Hammond said: "The Clean Streets of Keighley East complements the work the council carries out on a daily basis, clearing up after people who for some reason think the floor is a litter bin.

“It can be disheartening to pick up litter one day and see that there's more the next, but knowing other people are out there will hopefully keep our spirits up and gives us a bit of a lift. .

"The main message, though, is that littering is wrong - illegal in fact - and it's not fair that we should have to clear up after others. But I want a nice, tidy and clean area to live in, so that's why I, and many others, do it."

Cllr Firth said she and her Keighley East councillor colleagues Malcolm Slater and Doreen Lee regularly took part in mass litter picks and also picked up litter as individuals.

She said: “We realised there was no definitive place to share details of larger litter picks. I saw this idea and thought it would also be a great platform for this, but also a way to celebrate all the good citizens who quietly get on with clearing up the mess other people have left in the street.”

Mr O’Hare said Keighley Big Local, a lottery-funded regeneration programme already supported residents' groups picked up litter in Keighley East such as Riddlesden Toad Patrol, Plastic Free communities and River Worth Friends.

He said: "We host regular one-hour tidies. This new initiative fits perfectly with what we are already doing and helps us to share our litter-picking activities with other like-minded people.”

East Morton town councillor Christine Chapman, who lives in Sandbeds, is supporting the project after being inspired by her mum, who joined The Clean Streets of Shipley earlier in the year.

She said: “Mum is 93 and she goes out litter picking. I thought, if she can do it, I want to do something too. It is such a good idea to plot out what work is going on. If we each care for our surroundings we can all share the load.”

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