“If we don’t do it, nobody else will”: Our Altrincham organiser calls for more volunteer support for litter pick-ups

By David Prior at

The organiser of the Our Altrincham volunteer group has called for more local residents to get involved in helping to keep Altrincham tidy.

Sarah Walmsley is coordinating a litter pick-up in the town centre tomorrow evening between 7pm and 9pm as part of the drive to get Altrincham looking its best for the National High Street Perfect Day on Friday.

Walmsley and a small band of volunteers have been conducting regular volunteer litter picks around the town for years, collecting a current total of 2,624 bags – or almost 16 tonnes of rubbish.

And she says that people need to “wake up to the real world” and realise that, if volunteer groups didn’t do the work, nobody else would.

Our Altrincham volunteers at a previous litter pick

Walmsley, a former Altrincham Grammar pupil who also organises the Altrincham In Bloom volunteer group, said: “We are living in a period of austerity with more and more centralised government, with fewer and fewer resources controlled by the local authority.

“We can’t expect to live in a nanny state where people do everything for us. Ideally we’d love it if people didn’t litter, but the reality is that we’re in an extremely disposable society that is on the hoof all the time and they’re constantly eating on the hoof, and that means they’re having to dispose of bits and bobs. It’s got more and more like that over the years.”

Sarah Walmsley also organises the Altrincham in Bloom volunteer group

Walmsley, who fits all the volunteering around a full-time job, said the group had noticed that the problem of littering had become worse in recent years.

“We’re now collecting more and more rubbish, which is demoralising, and we sort of celebrate and commiserate at the same time,” she added.

“The point is, if we don’t do it, and make the town clean and tidy, nobody else is going to. That’s the reality.”

Our Altrincham will be litter picking in the town on Thursday 16th May ahead of Altrincham’s Perfect Day on Friday

Anyone is free to join the Our Altrincham groups on their litter pick-ups, starting tomorrow evening.

“We get together, we have a little briefing about what to do and what not to do, and how we generally operate. We put on our bright pink vests with Volunteer on the back – and it’s very important it says that so that people don’t think we’re either workmen or we’re doing some kind of community service, although it is a service to the community!

“We give everyone a little picker and bright red bags, and give them a route map. And that’s how we make the most of the resource we have on the day. It is a military operation!”

Anyone interested in joining the litter pick-up on Thursday 16th May, between 7pm and 9pm, should register here.