Fenland Street Pride groups celebrate achievements of last 12 months at Boathouse event
IT was a night of celebration for some of Fenland s most dedicated volunteers. And the watchword for everyone there was pride. More than 50 members of Street Pride groups from all over the district joined councillors and senior officers from Fenland Dis
IT was a night of celebration for some of Fenland's most dedicated volunteers. And the watchword for everyone there was "pride".
More than 50 members of Street Pride groups from all over the district joined councillors and senior officers from Fenland District Council at the Boathouse in Wisbech to share their experiences and achievements over the past year.
Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC's portfolio holder with responsibility for the environment, presented members of each group with special certificates in recognition of their efforts. "You make such a tremendous difference to every town and village where you work," he told them. "As a council we obviously can't cover every nook and cranny, so we rely a lot on you to help us."
He added: "Of course, if only we could educate everyone not to throw litter, we wouldn't need you. But that time hasn't come yet!"
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There are now six fully constituted Street Pride groups with 145 members in Parson Drove, Whittlesey, March, Manea, Chatteris and Wisbech. Over the past year they have put in 1,965 voluntary hours' work and staged 159 separate events - everything from litter picks and planting trees and bulbs to spearheading the ambitious plans to revamp March railway station.
Paul Medd, FDC's executive director, said: "You all make a fantastic contribution to the lives of your communities. It's important for us all to reflect on that and you should feel rightly proud of what you do. This evening is a great opportunity for us, as elected members and council officers, to say 'thank you'.
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"What you do not only has a massive impact on the cleanliness of the district; it also has a great knock-on effect, acting as a catalyst for other groups."
He also praised the contribution made by other organisations who work with Street Pride such as FACET, the probation service and Network Rail.
One of the evening's biggest rounds of applause went to 14-year-old James Dietz, who joined the Whittlesey Street Pride group to help him carry out part of his Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and plans to stay with it after completing that project.
A few days after the celebration James performed the naming ceremony when the group launched their third Street Pride boat, the Spirit of Whittlesey, on the Ramsey Road entrance to the town.
Jeanette Milner, FDC's Street Pride coordinator, listed the numerous awards the groups had totted up between them over the year, including several from Anglia in Bloom.
The evening also gave members an opportunity to say how they felt they were making a difference in their area. Several said that more people were now following their example. "More people in the village seem to be taking pride," said one. Another agreed: "From the first litter pick we now have fewer bags each time, which I feel is making the villagers aware."
• For more information on Street Pride, or to join a local group, call Jeanette Milner at FDC on 01354 654321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.