Big-hearted tenants keep their estate spic and span


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Community-spirited tenants have jumped into action to give their estate a spring clean.

The residents of the Fron estate in Old Colwyn rolled up their sleeves and took to the streets wearing high vis jackets and armed with litter grippers for a morning of collecting rubbish.

As a reward for keeping the streets spic and span, the litter pickers headed for the community centre for hot drinks and bacon butties.

The session was organised as part of the Give Where You Live scheme set up by housing association Cartrefi Conwy who manage the estate.

The idea is that people volunteer their services to their neighbours who then return the favour.

The initiative won a silver medal at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service Cymru Awards in Cardiff.

The litterpick was masterminded by Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person’s Engagement Officer.

According to tenants Sharon Batterbee and Sylvia Duxberry, they wanted to take part as they wanted to help make a difference to their community.

Sharon, who moved to the estate four years ago, said: “I love it here. We moved here as my husband is disabled and we needed a bungalow.

“Nerys Veldhuizen is the bee’s knees and gets things done. I’ve enjoyed being out in the fresh air and working together to make a real difference. The amount of litter and rubbish we have collected is amazing.”

Sylvia, who has lived at the Fron for eight years having moved from Rhos-on-Sea, added: “I’ve enjoyed working with Sharon collecting litter and rubbish. We are best mates anyway. It’s just good that we are making a difference.

“It is a lovely estate but it’s a shame that some people think it’s OK to drop litter and leave rubbish – it isn’t.”

Fellow tenants Elaine Davis and Mair Jones were in charge of the refreshments.

Elaine said: “It’s been a really good day and it’s good to see the community working together. It’s amazing to see just how much rubbish has been collected and bagged. I think everyone has earned their refreshments!”

Nerys Veldhuizen said: “I organised the event as part of our Give Where You Live initiative which means those tenants who took part earned credits for the time they put in. They can later use those credits for their own benefit.

“It’s about empowering tenants to take ownership and help create a community to be proud of. We have been getting complaints that parts of the estate were beginning to look scruffy.

“So we organised the litter pick and I’m amazed at the amount of rubbish and litter we have collected. It’s been great to see tenants out doing their bit and improving their own health and wellbeing as a result.”

The equipment was loaned to the tenants by Gwyl Roche, of Keep Wales Tidy, who also joined the litter pickers out on the streets.

He said: “It’s wonderful to see the community working together and cleaning up their own housing estate. Everyone is doing their bit. Of course it wouldn’t be necessary to organise these events if people just took their litter home.

“Fast food wrappings, boxes and plastic bottles are the biggest issues but we have found old car tyres, nappies and even discarded clothing. It really has been a worthwhile exercise.”

Cartrefi Conwy modern apprentice, Maya Waud, and Independent Living Coordinator Amy Owen, took part, along with the local PCSO Gethin Chapman and county councillor Chris Hughes.

Cllr Hughes, who is also a Cartrefi Conwy board member said: “I wanted to contribute to the litter pick and I have to say the amount of rubbish collected is amazing. It’s wonderful to see tenants out improving their community.

“Cartrefi Conwy, do a wonderful job and Nerys Veldhuizen makes things happen, she really is a star who enthuses everyone. The Fron is such a great community and no one is left to fend for themselves.”

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