Today was a nervous day for me and Gemma Ramsden (Chairwoman). We have been working extremely hard since May 2018 (when she kick started FOBOS back into action) to get momentum for our cause. We are so grateful to all the people who have followed us on facebook and twitter and have given us the positive feedback which spurred us on.
Our main aim was to regenerate the park for the local children to enjoy. Being mums ourselves (and both having two young boys of a similar age) the park is what brought us together. But what made this work is realising we are both extremely passionate about the area where we live (and yes I know I probably post too many hearts on social media but I really do love Belmont Open Space).
What we came to realise is that FOBOS is about more than just the park. FOBOS is about bringing the community together and preserving and protecting our green space.
The park is a great place to play but the woodlands and fields are also a fantastic space for children to explore and enjoy. It’s a space where their imaginations can take them on some amazing adventures. It’s also a great spot for dog walkers and for us adults who just need to stretch our legs in a calm environment.
With that in mind, when the Chislehurst Society announced they were doing a Chislehurst Litter Hero campaign we wanted to be part of this worthwhile cause. You may have seen on social media that this is a nationwide campaign called “The Great British Spring Clean” by the charity Keep Britain Tidy.
We really do love where we live and so we set a date to meet with like minded individuals to give up 1 hour of our time to collect litter from the park, fields and woodlands. Alison Stammers from the Chislehurst Society organised for littler pickers and bags for us, and Barbara Arora loaned us gloves that our fellow friends’ group FOCRG use for their litter picks. We also had amazing support from Caroll Long at Idverde who gave up her free time to give us advice and arranged for the litter to be collected on the same day by Nigel and his team.
Prior to our event, we launched the Belmont Litter Hero competition and were grateful to see Harriet Amos of AMOS Personal Training collecting rubbish during her fitness sessions on the fields and one of our followers, Claire Elizabeth collected a few full bags of rubbish to support us. These two ladies are fabulous!
So, why were we nervous? Well, this was our first community litter picking event and we really pushed it but hadn’t really had many confirmations of attendees. So as I pushed my pram along Imperial Way and Gemma pushed hers along Slades Drive we both had the same nervous flutterings. Would there be like minded people coming to help us or would it just be us and our families?
Well, we need not have worried. As we approached the gate, a wonderful lady called Hannah stood waiting for us after seeing our appeal for help on a tweet from Keep Britain Tidy. Then another wonderful lady called Jackie appeared and told us her daughter and seen our post on Visit Chislehurst. Then another wonderful family turned up, and another and another. We were truly overwhelmed and extremely thankful for the support. It was amazing to see so many like minded people come together to clean up our common space for the whole community to enjoy. As Gemma and I walked with our prams towards the river to pick litter from the hedges we said how nice it was to see so many people taking pride in their local area.
After one hour we met back at the park and we had collected 7 full bags of rubbish! We all agreed it was a shame that people littered in the first place but we all focused on the positive that there were people in the community who cared enough about their area to come together to make a real difference.
So, without much ado, we would like to thank:
- Harriet Amos for her individual collections and her daughters Nellie and Dottie who joined her for the community event today
- Claire Elizabeth who collected two full bags of litter, far exceeding the 5 pieces of litter a day challenge
- Kelly Kouzaris who joined us in clearing our beautiful woodlands
- Hannah Chubb who saw our request for help via a retweet from Keep Britain Tidy and came to our aid for the community litter pick
- Helen and Eddie Noble and their two children, Libby and William Noble
- Jacqui Payne, her daughter Hannah O’Brien and Hannah’s son
- Frankie Ramsden, Tom Mccaughey and their daughter
And of course to Gemma Ramsden (FOBOS Chairwoman), Andrew Ramsden and their boys Rex and Chester and to my partner, Andrew Mould (FOBOS Treasurer) and our boys Harrison and Dylan.
I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful community. So as I sit here with a small glass of wine after a busy day, I say cheers to our followers and volunteers, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a fantastic community.Gemma Sargeant (FOBOS Vice Chairwoman)