Telford fights litter battle thanks to team of Champions

They're the champions – and they are cleaning up in Telford.

Rob Palin and his daughter Tillie, seven, who often helps him as he goes out litter picking.
Rob Palin and his daughter Tillie, seven, who often helps him as he goes out litter picking.

Street Champions are identifiable by their high vis tops and trademark blue sacks as they get to work on the town's streets and spaces to create a more pleasant environment.

"There are currently just over 1,000 Street Champions within Telford and Wrekin, which is a phenomenal amount of people – quite literally an army of litter-pickers," said Hannah Lister, who is the co-ordinator of the Telford & Wrekin Council-run scheme.

"Telford Street Champions are an amazing team of council volunteers who play an active role in their local community to keep it clean, safe and tidy. While litter-picking is a large part of the role, it can also involve getting involved with community events and supporting us as a council by reporting any environmental issues such as fly tipping, overhanging trees, and so on."

Champion result – Sara Marshall celebrates another victory over the litter

She added: "The aim is to enable local people, with our support, to play an active role in their local communities and to help us ensure their local areas remain clean and safe places to live.

"It is a scheme for local people that take pride in their local communities.

"We provide ongoing support to the Street Champions. They have me as co-ordinator who processes applications, provides replacement kit, arranges bag collections, provides updated guidance and risk assessments, arranges group events and is there for support as and when it is needed.

"We provide Street Champions with a full litter-picking kit – high vis vest for safety, rigger gloves, blue refuse sacks, a bag-opening hoop and, of course, a litter-picker.

"They cover all public areas of Telford and Wrekin. Some focus more on their local neighbourhood area, whereas others go litter-picking here, there and everywhere within the borough."

Yannon the 'Lion Dog' is a champions celebrity.

The champions even have a four-legged companion, Yannon the "Lion Dog."

"She is very popular and a mini celebrity among the Street Champions. Yannon’s owner is Steve Hooker who often covers the Silkin Way and Brookside area."

Hannah added: "There is no minimum amount of hours required, we simply ask that Street Champions do what they can and when they can, whether that is one bag every month or one bag a day. Every bag collected makes a huge difference to an area.

"People become Street Champions for many different reasons; mental wellbeing, to clean up their local environment, to inspire younger generations, for the health benefits of going for a walk, and to make friends and learn new skills.

"If people are interested in becoming Street Champions, they can head to to find out more or apply or email"

One of the champions is Rob Palin, a painter and decorator from Madeley, who is often accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter Tillie as he goes out to clean up.

"We are all volunteers and do what we do purely to keep Telford looking great," said Rob.

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