Fifty community-minded volunteers took part in a litter pick to kick start a summer campaign to spruce up a housing estate.
The two month long project on the Parc Peulwys estate in Llysfaen, above Colwyn Bay, is being organised by housing association Cartrefi Conwy and sister organisation Creating Enterprise who are urging tenants to get involved
The litter pick and fun day were the first in a series of events designed to bring community members together while also generating new ideas for improving their lifestyles.
Free bacon butties, a bouncy castle, pre-loved toys, clothes and games giveaway, and an abundance of enthusiasm were key ingredients at the launch day.
Cartrefi Conwy Managing Director Katie Clubb was particularly heartened to see so many children out, getting stuck in and having fun.
She said: “We want to be actively involved and we want to listen to the needs of our tenants and join them in events like this litter pick.
“We’re calling on the Parc Peulwys residents to engage with us, tell us about any issues they have and what we can do to address their needs and improve community infrastructure.”
Cartrefi and Creating Enterprise are joining forces for similar events in other neighbourhoods, including a Big Clean-Up day beginning at Ty Hapus Community Centre, Llandudno.
Cookery demonstrations and crafts workshops are also on the agenda.
The Peulwys litter pick was led by Keep Wales Tidy representative Gareth Jones, who provided high viz vests, waste bags and litter picking tools for all taking part.
He said: “We do these exercises as a group activity and try to make it as much fun as we can, but the idea is to raise awareness of the need to minimise litter around us. All communities benefit from living in a clean, litter-free environment.”
The Jammeh family – Kaddy-Rose, six, Jasmina-Lee, four, Solomon-George, two, and dad Abdouli – joined the clean-up challenge.
Abdouli said: “It’s good to do something with the environment in mind and which benefits a whole community.”
One youngster who couldn’t agree more was Ronnie Knott, aged eight, who was there with his friend Roman Warburton and Roman’s great gran, Margaret Warburton.
Ronnie said: “It feels like I’m doing something good to help our community. I’m a really good litter picker – like a professional.”
Margaret Warburton said: “It’s a good idea to impress on children at an early age that they need to look after their environment.”
The youngsters delighted in jumping for joy on the bouncy castle following the big clean – just reward for all their hard work.
Among other partner organisations involved on the day was Bryson Recycling which provides garden waste collections services across Conwy.
The company has also helped develop a pioneering project to extend the life of reusable household items while generating profits for St David’s Hospice charity.
Unwanted working order items are donated then sold at the shop with proceeds going to the hospice.
Bryson Community Engagement Manager Mark Ellis said: “It is even better than recycling as items are re-used, often over and again. It also prevents things that cannot be recycled from going to landfill. Not only is it better for the planet but it means local community members can access useful items at an extremely affordable price.”
Community Facilitators Co-ordinator Ami Jones, who works for Creating Enterprise, brought along a table full of good condition toys to give away at the fun day. They were no longer wanted by her 12 year old daughter Emily.
Ami said: “She did not want to just throw them away so I said I would bring them here today.”
As part of the ongoing summer project, Ami will be making herself available to offer advice on reducing community waste, handing out recycling collection bags and replacement recycling containers for anyone who needs them.
Creating Enterprise Community and Social Impact Manager Sioned Williams said: “We want to positively interact with tenants and help organise activities which they feel will be an asset to the community.
“We have some ideas ourselves but we need guidance from them to know if our ideas fall in line with their wishes. That’s why we are calling on them to engage with us over the summer and help formulate plans to improve local facilities and services of all ages.”
Llysfaen Community Councillors and Chairman, Paul Gillbanks, welcomed Cartrefi Conwy’s efforts to collaborate with the community.
He said: “It’s important that communication lines are always open, new ideas welcomed and that residents know they have a voice in what happens around them.
“Cartrefi Conwy wants to listen to the community’s concerns and to act upon them so I urge people to come forward and join in the various activities they have planned over the summer.”
Cartrefi Conwy tenants are advised to check out Facebook and the housing association’s website for more information about the programme of activities.