About Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns' work in Cardiff

Hi, my name is Chris Partridge and I am Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns Project Officer for Cardiff. Activities we undertake are often in partnership with Cardiff Council's Parks Department (both waste services and Community Park Rangers) and Street Cleansing. We have organised events for several businesses across Cardiff and is happy to accommodate future requests. For more information you can contact Chris on 07717 412 270 or by Email: chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org You can also follow me on Twitter for upcoming events @CardiffKWT

Friday, 28 September 2012

September, busy like the squirrels

I joined Keep Wales Tidy in August 2010, so a few years ago now. The first thing I had to do was organise the Great Taff Tidy events in Cardiff. After I let my hair down for a cuppa, I then had Tidy Wales Week (TWW) to do at the end of September. Well the same thing happened this September with Tidy Wales Week, officially from the 17-23rd, but extending earlier each year by a few hours followed by a deadline for the Wild Weekend grants on Wed 26th September. Well I did loads for TWW and also had a hand in 11 Wild Weekend grants, so fingers crossed for all of those.

For TWW, As far as I can see, Cardiff Rivers Group started it off this year down in Atlantic Wharf area doing some really important clearance work on Allied British Ports (ABP) land. Their story and information can be found here http://cardiffriversgroup.blogspot.co.uk/. it is a great example of how volunteers can be used to do brilliant and valuable work without needing to be directly supervised, just educate and empower. After events on Flatholm and in Adamsdown with EAG, the week really started for me with the launch event in Roath Brook. Here I encouraged Marlborough Primary School to adopt a stretch of Roath Brook in Roath Mill Gardens, just down the road from the school. Here is an example of a really lovely park with relatively little litter, plenty of dog fouling, but the litter you can see stands out a mile as it is on the steep banks and in the stream itself. The plan is to train up the school so they can act like a mini-Cardiff Rivers Group in this stretch. Moreover, I’ll teach them how to perform water quality surveys, how to identify and report invasive plants (in the case of Himalayan balsam how to pull it up) and maybe to survey the wildlife. Importantly, their presence and efforts has already attracted some local volunteers to help out and will certainly affect the behaviour of some of the dog owners who aren’t so responsible. For pictures see here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCa99gp
From the banks and in the stream, Marlborough Primary School and local vols
Marlborough Primary in the Roath Brook.
Keep Wales Tidy have now helped 2 contrasting groups to keep a stretch of Roath Brook clear of litter. Their patches are only separated by private ownership near Penylan Library. One group is young aspiring environmentalists from Marlborough Primary and the other of a more mature standing, Cardiff and District Soroptimists. If I am lucky, and it works really well, some of the pupils may even go out with the Soroptimists out of school time.

Friends of Bute Park have been brilliant again going out 4 times altogether during the week and they have some great stuff on their facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/Bute.Park.Cardiff
Cylch are another group putting their money where their mouth is and looked like they had great fun along the barrage. You can have a look at their blog entry here. Well done to Emina and the gang.
One of the big things I have been doing for sometime is encouraging schools to come out and play as they often make a huge impact. Over in the Lakeside area I joined up one of our Litter Champions with the school and they’ll be going out to tackle some local areas: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCaoCfd
In Discovery Woods with Lakeside Primary and local litter champion Ian

We have also had great success in Chapelwood Woods with St. Philip Evans http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCcJPrY, the woods opposite St. Bernadette’s in Pentwyn http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCbbQuG & Coryton Primary School & the Hollybush Estate http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCbKY78. In Chapelwood, in Feb 2011 BT helped us pull out 37 bags and ½ tonne of rubbish filling up a Parks Services transit. In Sept 2011 for Tidy Wales Week St. Philip Evans and I pulled out 35 bags plus 100 kg of rubbish. This time we pulled out just 10 bags. In the woods opposite St. Bernadette’s. CFMEP pulled out over 50 bags of rubbish and 1/3 of a tonne across January 2011, in Jan 2012 CFMEP and the School pulled out 35 bags, 75 dog poo bags and a bottle of sick from this small woodland. For Tidy Wales Week 2012, St. Bernadette’s pulled out  just 6 bags of rubbish and 10 dog poo bags up a tree (small dog by the looks of the poo). So our aim here is to target this irresponsible owner with the children and to address the tipping of garden waste into the edge of the woods. The children all know the answer “Put the poo bag in a bin, not up a tree and put your green waste into the green bins or a compost bin”.
St. Bernadette's making a start

St. Philip Evans Primary making a difference in Chapelwood

Holybush Residents' Association working with Coryton Primary School cleaning up the estate and making a start on behaviour change.

I started working recently with the newly formed Chapelwood Residents Federation and these guys are great. To make things flow even easily, loads of the kids on the estate have done activities with me from their schools or from the amazing Llanedeyrn Playcentre, so as we went around on our TWW event, loads of kids joined in with us. A young Dad stopped me part the way through and asked if their 4 kids could join in. I happily got some more pickers for them and the 2 girls especially got stuck into removing some of the graffiti that was around the estate. It is a great start for these guys and 4 of the kids have asked to be KWT Litter Champions and I am awaiting parental permissions. One of these has already planned a schedule for the litterpicks. How promising is that?

These kids want to live in a nicer world on Chapelwood Estate (removing graffiti)
Cleaning up the information panel in Chapelwood, It might be a bit "Life of Brian" but no capital G and where's the apostrophe'?

For a map of all TWW events in Cardiff see here: http://goo.gl/maps/KF3Kb

One of the nicest projects CFMEP have been involved with has been with Bereavement Services in Llandaff Cathedral Cemetery. We have been given complete trust in helping to improve part of the old site. we pulled up some balsam and are digging up rubbish from under a bridge so it can be surveyed and there are some great monuments that are hidden under vegetation. One of the nice parts are watching some of Barrie's boys tidying up around one of the great features which are seats around great yew trees.

 Barrie's boys make a tidy job

Sue's bit

Just to end, I've been a bit reflective of late, must have something to do with selling my massive BMW motorbike, when I was a youngster I always wondered why my Mum & Dad had stuff like the Kinks & Moody Blues in the house when there was so much cool music around. I was in the car the other day and put on an album of my youth Megadeth's Rust in Peace and thought "oh it is just so good". I realised that it is now over 20 years old and it still sounds as fresh as the day I bought it from Woolworths one lunchtime from School the day it came out. I'm not sure it means I've grown up though.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Tidy Wales Week Events in Cardiff Sep 17-23rd

Here is a map of all the , so if you just want to join in with an event for Tidy Wales Week, look at the map below for locations, dates and times. These will be updated daily when I get this information. Some meeting times and locations may alter so check the map and email the contacts on each event just in case.

View Tidy Wales Week in Cardiff in a larger map

For more information on events in Cardiff, contact Chris Partridge on chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org or 07717412270

To get a TWW registration form download from:
or email tww@keepwalestidy.org

Saturday, 1 September 2012

August Update

An exciting month this month with efforts on Himalayan balsam with the knowledge that the pulling season is nearly over, but with the disappointment that there is a huge area untouched. In total I’ve been directly involved with 55 Himalayan balsam events this year from late June until the end of August. This has involved a massive 403 volunteers of which 154 were completely new to the Himalayan balsam world. These volunteers put in a massive 642.5 voluntary hours. Seasoned veterans Cardiff Rivers Group have been pulling it up and new group Cardiff Trails Scrubs have had their first experience of tackling the plant mainly on the Ely near Leckwith. We’ve educated and informed the Mill Road Group who dived in with enormous enthusiasm on the Ely just downstream from Birdies lane bridge on the Fairwater side (I think the stress release of the work swung it for them almost more than anything else). The group enjoyed it so much that they were disappointed that they had to stop and now have to wait until next year. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBesR7d http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBnn8BY http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBsgbZU
Left. Around 90 ft of balsam before you can get to the river, and nothing but balsam (30th July). Right. You can see the river now with an area of 80 x 140 feet of balsam cleared by the Mill Road + Group (Aug 16th).
Awareness raising is one of those tasks where you can invest a lot of time and if an event has few people, for example it is pouring of rain can be almost a waste of time. However, this month in Fairwater, Friends of Cardiff Dogs Home and Fairwater Communities First organised a Dog Show behind Fairwater Leisure Centre and it was heaving with people and their dogs. On 2 separate occasions on the day groups of youths came up to my table and asked if they could litterpick the whole area. They collected about 3 big bags of rubbish and it was remarkable. They weren’t in school and it wasn’t an organised event with a youth centre. Over the past 2 years, I’ve invested efforts in Waterhall Youth Centre working really closely with the brilliant Communities First Team (why have Cardiff Council let these amazing people go?), we’ve litterpicked, made dormouse boxes as part of last year’s Wild Weekend and Cardiff Park’s Services gave us some daffs to plant and we planted a load of daffs in the dark outside Fairwater shops with some of these kids. This small investment from me and a few others has led to them caring enough that they wanted to make a difference. These kids don’t know much about section 42 wildlife, they don’t really understand sustainable development, was it time well spent as a Keep Wales Tidy Officer or value for money from a Welsh Government Tidy Towns point of view? I like to think so.
Some of the kids helping out at Fairwater Dog Show (Ben, Right Right, earned his Goodies in Hoodies Hoodie last year with the work he did making dormouse boxes with me for Wild Weekend)
Last year for Wild Weekend in some places, we made dormouse boxes and these were made from plywood. What I found in some places, is that the wood quickly starts to rot, but they stand out in situ. I had a little idea about this and set up a trial event at Llanedeyrn Playcentre. I have done a reasonable amount of work here and with the kids, we have regular litterpicks of the adjacent woods, we have pulled the Himalayan balsam here for the past 2 years and also put up 3 bat boxes which haven’t been vandalised even though they are pretty obvious. Anyway, we put together 3 dormouse boxes from left over materials and then decided to get creative. Using a dark brown and dark green wood preservative, we camouflage painted the dormouse boxes, so they will be better hidden in situ and also have some wood preservative quality. These will come in handy for Wild Weekend events (for more info on Wild Weekend go to http://keepwalestidy.sequence.co.uk/campaigns/wild-weekend-2012) Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBqLgZw
Just some of the kids at Llanedeyrn Playcentre who helped to build and trial camo paint a few dormouse boxes.

We’ve just started out performing a really nice project in Llandaff Cathedral Cemetery in partnership with Cardiff Council’s Bereavement Services (who have just taken over the site management) and Conservation and Policy Group. The initial point of the work was to organise volunteer events around Prichard Bridge just to the north of the Cathedral. The Conservation and Policy group need to inspect the bridge to see how they can best preserve it. However, the bridge has trees around it, landslides on both sides of the arches and loads of potentially hazardous litter under it. While on a site visit with all partners, I noticed that there was Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, rosebay willowherb, buddleia and it was extremely wild. Bereavement Services have given us almost carte blanche undertake almost any improvement works, habitat or otherwise. Like many parts of local authorities across Wales, there isn’t always capacity to do all the things they’d like to do, so with our help and expertise, we can do some really nice stuff here, with volunteers, schools and even to help them set up a voluntary group to achieve this. They will then be able to support this work in ways in which we can’t easily do and everyone benefits at this amazing site. So for our first event, we just pulled a large patch of balsam and on the last event, we performed 3 activities; litterpicking, balsam pulling in the thick brambles and clearance of one of the landslide sides of the bridge. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBFiKEC http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBPcvtq and a map showing some of the progress of our work can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/maps/OFEgc.
Top. Boys working on clearing and sorting the landslide. Bottom left. Intact 40 year old plastic sweet wrappers found in the landslide. Bottom Right. Most of the vols.

Don’t forget to register a Tidy Wales Week event Sep 17-23. However if you can’t fit one in then, but can either side, just let TWW@keepwalestidy.org know (oh and let me know too please).

Finally, a quick thanks to Parks services and Street Cleansing for helping to remove rubbish after events this month, Communities First in Ely, Fairwater, St. Mellons & Llanrumney for being brilliant as per usual and helping out again this month, Lucy from Cardiff Council Tidy Towns and Danielle from Waste Education and Enforcement, Cllrs. Carter & Ali for performing proactive environmental work with and without us in their wards and Cllr. Govier for enthusiastically embracing the environment from so many angles.