An innovative community scheme – called ‘BeachCare’ – is being piloted at North Denes beach in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday (24th October).
The scheme, which is a partnership between Keep Britain Tidy and Anglian Water, aims to encourage seaside communities to get involved in their surroundings and ‘adopt’ their local stretch of shoreline.
BeachCare has been modelled on the already successful RiverCare scheme where local communities have set up groups to look after stretches of inland waterways. Anglian Water hopes that this pilot scheme will lead to a number of similar BeachCare groups being set up along our region’s coastline.
Groups will be given all the tools, training and support to carry out beach clean-ups, biodiversity surveys and environmental improvement work throughout the year to help the local environment flourish.
Paul Gibbs, Anglian Water’s Director of Wastewater, who will be leading the pilot scheme, said: “We are keen to work with coastal communities, like Great Yarmouth, over the coming years to encourage people to get involved and help protect the local environment.
“We hope this first beach clean up at North Denes will form the start of a very successful BeachCare scheme which we hope to extend along our region’s coastline.
“While litter is the most obvious problem which affects the quality of our beaches, groups will also be able to help in other ways.”
The regions first group is being launched at North Denes beach in Great Yarmouth with a litter pick on Wednesday morning between 10am and 12pm. Volunteers, including staff from Anglian Water and Keep Britain Tidy will be meeting at Munchies Café. After the clean up, volunteers will be able to hear about the future plans for BeachCare.
Paul continued: “Being in a BeachCare group will involve much more than picking up litter, important though that is. Members will learn how to help protect the wonderful coastal wildlife and habitats and will gain knowledge they can then share with others in the community.
“Many of the things people do everyday, from dropping litter to walking the dog, even what they put down sinks and toilets, can impact on our beaches. Coastal communities in particular can be affected by these impacts first hand, which is why we hope they will want to join us in making BeachCare a success.
“Making these connections will help coastal communities maintain and protect their environment for future generations.”
Andrew Walters, from Keep Britain Tidy said: “We’re excited to be part of this project to support local communities in taking positive action looking after their local open spaces.
“We hope that projects like BeachCare will enhance the already strong sense of civic pride in our regions coastal communities.”
The launch of this scheme has already been welcomed by the Environment Agency, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Philip Pearson, RSPB’s Senior Conservation Officer said: “This stretch of coastline is of international importance for breeding little tern. It also supports important numbers of breeding ringed plover, which is sadly suffering from significant population declines. The RSPB supports groups like this helping to manage their local beach so that vulnerable species can survive and natural habitats can remain in good condition for people and wildlife all year round. We look forward to working with the Beach Care group to ensure that these birds continue to breed successfully.”