Organising a community clean up

Are you interested in carrying out a community clean up and helping us keep Blackburn with Darwen free from litter?

You could clean up your local area, a local landmark or take action on a well-known ‘grot spot’. Please remember that this doesn’t include private land or private domestic dwellings.

This is a great way to look after your local environment and provides an opportunity to meet and get to know others in your community, as well as providing health and wellbeing benefits.

1. Gather a team and set a date

Gather a team who can help you organise the day, so jobs can be shared among volunteers.

Give yourself plenty of time to get prepared! A Saturday is often a great day for a clean-up – spread the word by giving out flyers and knocking on doors.

2. Notify the council

This can be done by completing the requesting notice for a community clean-up form. We advise that the council is notified at least 7 days in advance of the community clean-up so the team can then provide further guidance, equipment or support, if required.

We can help by:

  • providing tools to borrow such as litter pickers and gloves
  • removing rubbish – if the rubbish is collected from council land, we’ll remove it
  • keeping you safe – we can provide simple advice

Note: We can not collect soil or rubble.

3. Plan refreshments and fun activities

Any job worth doing is worth celebrating, so make an event out of it. Encourage more people to come out by bringing snacks, providing hot
drinks, putting on some music, or having a litter scavenger hunt for the kids.

Top tip: Scavenge the treasures! Have you spotted any fly-tipped or littered items that can be given a new lease of life? 

Clean-up preparation and safety advice

Health and safety

It is important that everyone thinks about safety and understands how to keep themselves safe.

We recommend that you avoid:

  • Potentially hazardous objects such as unidentified cans or canisters, oil drums and chemical containers.
  • Lifting heavy objects, make a note of where they are and let us know at the end of your clean up.
  • Sharp objects such as broken glass and disposable BBQs – these should be collected in separate containers not litter bags.
  • Clinical waste such as needles/syringes – do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform us by ringing 01254 585921.
  • Hazardous areas such as deep or fast-flowing water, steep, slippery or unstable banks, sharp rocks, derelict buildings, busy roads and electric fences (which are identified by yellow warning signs).
  • Working alone – try to stay in sight and earshot of others but if not possible then let someone know where you’ve gone and when to expect you back.

To avoid illness from poor hygiene, all those taking part in the clean-up must:

    • Wear heavy-duty, protective gloves at all times.
    • Cover any cuts (however minor) with surgical tape or a waterproof plaster.
    • Keep hands away from mouth and eyes while litter-picking.
    • Wash hands and forearms before eating, drinking, smoking or going to the toilet.

Public Liability insurance

It’s not compulsory to have insurance in place for your group, but it is good practice to have insurance cover for your group.

Insurance protects the group and group leader should a volunteer make a claim for an injury sustained while volunteering.

Setting up a policy for an individual group will require payment of a fee to an insurance company and this may be beyond the reach of some groups. In this instance, alternatives include checking whether your local Parish can provide insurance.

If you’re volunteering as part of a faith group or as a member of a charitable organisation, its existing public liability insurance may provide cover for your activity.

Please note Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council accepts no liability for any loss or damage to property or injury to persons arising from activities carried out by person or group of persons engaged in Community Environmental Care activities and that whether or not these activities are part of a national campaign or otherwise.