The RiverLife small grants scheme has been used for all kinds of projects across the communities we are a part of. Recently we’ve been working with the West Lothian Litter Pickers to help them get some new equipment, and advise them on how to safely use it.
The West Lothian Litter Pickers are a hugely active group that have members all over the county. In normal circumstances they organise large scale litter picks and cleanups every week. At the moment due to restrictions they have issued equipment out to their members, who are now encouraged to go out on their own to do some local clean up work.
Using our grant scheme we have purchased some new equipment for the group, including some extra general equipment for the group members, but also some pairs of waders to allow them to work in waterways around West Lothian, many of which need a bit of love and care!
Scot and I have been out on a couple of socially distanced sessions with some group members as they use the waders for the first time, just to help them get used to working in and around the water. We went to Harwood Water in Polbeth, which despite being a lovely spot for a woodland riverside walk did contain quite a lot of litter with many large objects in the water and on the banks, such as strimmers, bicycles, a TV, several blue bins, and a strange assortment of other discarded objects. We had a nice time working with and getting to know the group members as we worked our way along the water, up past Limefield Falls where there is currently a new fish pass and viewing platform being installed as part of the RiverLife project.
“All of the volunteers are part of West Lothian Litter Pickers, and as such, already have a keen interest in clearing litter. But to venture into a new area was so interesting. It brings home to us the importance of trying to avoid litter getting into the waterways. Several pieces of large metal objects unfortunately had to be left in situ (A car and a bedded in trolley), but we would be very keen to assist in the eventual removal of these items.”
“It was so much fun to actually get into the water, something I have never ever done before whilst dressed appropriately! We had contact with several interested passers by which is a good thing.”
– Carol, one of the organisers of WLLP
“Maggie and I spent a couple of hours last week guddling for litter in and around Harwood Water. The river was fairly full which limited our activity a bit and progress was very slow clambering over fallen trees and up and down river banks, but we came away with bags of rubbish. We had a great time and once we got used to maneuvering over slippy surfaces were able to reach a fair amount of rubbish.”
“We would be very happy to do it again and as the West Lothian Litter Pickers have decent waders, which are a must, and we remained warm and dry even on a cold November day.”
– John, WLLP member