Town Spirit

Communities looking after their local area

Green-fingered Hoyland resident Chris Hopkins is a self-confessed bug expert and keen environmentalist. He loves the outdoors and is proud of the work he does in the community to make the local area a better place to live. Chris doesn’t think of his work as a ‘proper job’, he thinks of it as an activity everyone should take an interest in.

As a former volunteer, Chris now works for Hoyland’s Tidy Team doing what he loves on a daily basis. After planting new flowers in a roadside flower bed, Chris says with pride “We've got to look after things haven't we? For the next generation. Now when people drive past it will look pretty for them and maybe give them a smile. That's what it’s all about.”

The Tidy Team project, run by the Forge Community Partnership, is funded through the South Area Council. Six locals work full time on the scheme as ambassadors - encouraging locals to adopt green spaces and going in to schools to encourage pupils to do more environmental projects. One employee is a former farm hand, another a university graduate, plus they also currently have two apprentices finishing their first level of a NVQ qualification.

The Tidy Team have been working with about 55 volunteers to helping on environmental projects. After touring local galas and recruiting new volunteers they hope more people will come forward to assist with things like adopting grass verges outside their homes. They are also looking to set up a ‘tool bank’ that will allow local community groups to run more clean ups without the need to buy any tools themselves.

The team is currently helping in the community by:

  • Working with Flexseal at Shortwood and McDonalds at Cortonwood to help keep the area around their premises clean by supporting staff litter picks.
  • Developing community gardens in Wombwell and Hoyland.
  • Running a family day in Wombwell - working with local parents and children to promote the environment.

Neil Spencer, a spokesman for the Forge Community Partnership, said "A big part of our remit is empowering the community to do their own thing and help them to deliver projects. We are here as part of a changing message and hopefully people will see the benefits of working together to help improve the community we all live in. We aren't there to do it for you - we are there to empower people to do it for themselves."

It is hoped the Tidy Team project will eventually expand across all areas of Barnsley and recruit more volunteers to come forward to deliver environmental services like litter picking and community clean ups.

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