South Shields park supporters call for help

Volunteers at a previous clean up
Volunteers at a previous clean up

A litter pick could prove a stroll in two parks for clean-up campaigners in South Tyneside – and volunteers can help boost their efforts.

The Friends of North and South Marine Parks expect to collect up to 14 bags of rubbish from their two-hour trawl around bushes, benches – and even a bandstand.

They will start the event – one of four such activities each year – at 10.30am on Saturday, March 17.

Organisers say around a dozen members of the group, which was founded in 2007, will take part and that other helpers are welcome to support them on the day.

But they warn those considering taking part should wrap up warm and wear clothes they are happy to get dirty.

Group secretary Joan Eggleston said: “The parks are in pretty good condition and we do our best to keep them that way.

“It usually takes us a couple of hours to do a pretty thorough clean and to carry out an audit of the parks’ features.

“We like to check anything that has become worn or vandalised, and we can apply for funding from that.”

She added: “The council’s people go in quite regularly and do their own clean-ups, but we get into the more difficult to reach areas.

“In previous years we have filled up to 20 bags with rubbish, but it is now usually about 14.

“Anyone who wants to join us on the day is welcome, but they should wear clothes old clothes, and sturdy shoes are also important.

“We provide all the other equipment that is needed for the litter pick.”

Mrs Eggleston also described it as “exciting times” for the parks, which have received significant recent funding boosts.

The South Marine Park has benefited from around £6m of redevelopment money.

And last month the North Marine Park secured £2.4m of funding from the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund for a major overhaul.

The friends’ group was founded as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded restoration of the South Marine Park.

Its successes include creating a community garden, promoted live music in the South Marine Park’s bandstand, and supporting the activities of other organisations.

Litter pick volunteers should meet at the junction of Ocean Road and Lawe Road.

Information on its work and upcoming events is at www.parkfriends.org.uk