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

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Making steps to change

Dear all,
As many of you know, I am taking over my line manager’s post as of March 1st as maternity cover. As such, this may be my last monthly update for a while, but hopefully the next officer will be able to carry this on when he or she starts. It is a very useful way to show the many groups, schools and Litter champions that although you all will not see me very often, that I am out there and trying to work really hard to make things a little bit better. Please continue to email me with enquiries, so I can try and deal with them and help train up my replacement as quickly as possible.

February has been quite a nice month, I helped St. Philip Evans Primary School with their 3rd annual coppice event early in the month in Chapelwood Woods and this was again really successful. We looked at how well last winter’s and the winter’s before hazel stools had regenerated after they had cut them to the ground. We also looked at the dead stool which some local people had set fire to with a wheeliebin; the children were quite rightly so upset at this.
Pupils from St Philip Evans cutting the stem into sections
The proof of how well these kind of projects do work isn’t just measured by the decrease in litter, but by bringing along a next generation of volunteers and I was really pleased to see while the adjacent woodland of Roundwood was getting roundly hammered in the SW Echo for being a historical and current dumping ground, that Chapelwood was getting a litter pick during half term with 4 local litter champions of which 2 were from St. Philip Evans Primary School (1 from Llanedeyrn Primary School). Chapelwood was a place where I had no local volunteers when I started, severe flytipping and antisocial behaviour. It was a site where external people, mainly from organisations were brought in “to give something back to the community”. Now, local people are helping to look after it and momentum is building with more local children want to join in to help keep the estate and the woodlands tidy. A big well done must be made to David Keigwin from Chapelwood Residents’ Fed for organising and looking after the kids when they are out litterpicking (nicely it is the kids nagging him to come out).

 Well done to the litter champions of Chapelwood during half term

We finally finished the last wild weekend event with Cardiff Trail Scrubs and Ely Community Mums with our bird and bat boxes going up adjacent to the Ely trail where the guys pulled up Himalayan balsam last summer. It was done with oermission from the landowners, RWEnPower with a member of staff coming along on the final day too. Hopefully, this is the start of something really promising. Thanks to ACE and JustaddSpice for helping to organise and Ely North Youth Centre for hosting the box making and painting sessions.

Boys will be boys

On the note of working with kids, I have done loads of events with Llanedeyrn Playcentre over the years and the problems in their woodlands have dropped off significantly too. Here, a path next to the centre was blocked from a fallen tree and with the children from the centre, we made it safe and constructed a rustic bench from some of the wood. The Playcentre is a crucial local hub for young people and brings the kids from all different schools together to have fun and do positive things. The staff are pivotal to this and I wish there was more opportunity to do this kind of work. Once you get the kids hooked they work really hard and really care about these green spaces on their doorstep.
Training the next generation of volunteers
The bench the children made, it is wired and staked in place, held off the ground to delay rotting.
Our work up on the Hollybush estate is working really well with Coryton Primary School and Hollybush Resident’s Association seeing a decrease in the amount of litter on the Estate on our latest litterpick. The only hotspot now is the open air car body workshops that seem to take place and instead of putting car bits and oil etc in the bin (oil to the right place at the tip), they are throwing it on and down the nearby bank. Hopefully a bit more awareness raising work by the school and this unnecessary behaviour should be changed too.

Hollybush Residents' Association and Coryton Primary with their haul
Joining up schools and local people is becoming a bit of a theme, but it is a very useful one that works and next is an early developing story. There is an amazing chap who lives in Butetown who has gone through an awful lot in his young life which has partially been reported in the newspapers already. Anthony has been in remission from a form of brain cancer for almost a year now. He raises money for several charities including a children’s charity through fun runs (you may remember a picture of someone in the Echo dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog). Anthony has been coming out with me on a Friday with CFMEP and Cardiff Rivers Group for about 6 months. He is so proud of his area and so sad to see so much litter, that he signed up as a Litter Champion just before Christmas. Since January 1st he has collected 110 bags of litter from just around Butetown. If you pass by there, you may see him with his wheelbarrow piles high. Separately these are inspirational, but together I’m lost for words. Anyway, with help from Saeed Ibrahim from Fairwater’s Waterhall Youth Centre, who lives in Butetown, we met up with Mr. Morris, headteacher from Mount Stewart Primary School, who is really keen to get out there at least once a month with the after school EcoClub to help make the area a nicer place to live and to support Anthony. We’ll help them for the first 2 events and equip them with all the information and skills that they’d need and they can carry on together, just like a community group. Oh, and Anthony has just collected his 40th dumped umbrella too.

Anthony dragging the Emperor's new mattress along
Our Friday mornings’ CFMEP group has had great fun this month including helping out the Wild Fishing Wales project in Troedyrhiw by building steps down to the river. We have also been busy in Grangemoor Park with permission from Parks Services clearing, coppicing and dead hedging a little patch adjacent to the Ely Trail. On the last event, the previously described Litter Champion Anthony, helped another volunteer Sue, to cutback some dogwood trees and the brash was bundled together into sausages called fascines.
CFMEP with one of our sets of steps in Troedyrhiw

Sue and Anthony with one of the bundles from Grangemoor Park
CFMEP's dead hedge, so far
These fascines were then taken to an after school eco-event on a Saturday morning to help stabilise a bank that was being washed away near Glyncoed Primary school. 7 kids, 2 dads, 1 teacher, 1 local litter champion and another volunteer came along to stabilise the bank by staking the bundles in front of the bank. To do this, Richard Weaver, showed all the kids how to use a billhook to sharpen a willow rod into a stake; they all then had a go. Meanwhile the grown ups all helped to put in some posts to mark a safe edge of the adjacent path. We were quite surprised when barring holes for the wooden stakes that some of the path already had water about 2 ft underneath it. When the fascine defences were in position the kids added the rails using drills and hammer and nails. One of the children came up with the same idea that I was taught at college; the rails can be made perfectly parallel, by spacing them apart using the length of the hammer. Problem solving, communication & working together; Glyncoed Primary School kids key skills complete.

Glyncoed Primary School's after school EcoClub on a Saturday with Richard in the water getting one of the Grangemoor Park bundles in place.
Fencing and fascines in place