‘Southsea Beachwatch’ is a volunteer led community group whose aim is to help curb the litter left on Southsea and Eastney beaches every year, though awareness and the act of, well, ‘picking up litter’.
As part of this work there are beach cleans arranged for the first Saturday of the month, between 10 am and 12 pm. The Portsmouth Together team visited the group at its last beach clean to see first-hand the efforts of this small but passionate volunteers team of volunteers.
The beach clean starts from outside the Coffee Cup on Eastney Esplanade. The organisers, led by Lara Skingsley, provide protective gloves, rubbish bags, and trash pickers, and all are welcome to come along, including kids and four-legged friends. The organisers are a little low on gloves, so please bring your own if you have them and they are always thankful for donations to help buy more equipment. If you arrive once the beach clean has already started, help yourself to equipment on the bench by the chalkboard, and try and find an organiser so they can record the number of volunteers accurately.
Lara has been involved in the beach clean for about six years and is supported by Jane Di Dino and Luke Stubbs (PCC Councillor). Lara explained how the message get out to the public primarily through social media networks and that they get great support from Strong Island, Team Locals and Love Southsea
On the day we joined the beach clean it was clear how popular this community action initiative is with families. ‘Clean up Southsea Beach’ provide pictorial seashore guides and Bird Aware information to help explain the importance of the beaches are to our environment and wildlife. The guides describe the different types of plants growing on the higher parts of the beach – which is also where a lot of the debris can be founds as if gets caught from being blown up from the beach.
We meet a number of volunteers who were taking part on the beach clean for the first time and we wanted to know why?
Selena Shaw, and sisters Tracy and Julie Rose heard about the event that morning via the Love Southsea Facebook and decided that rather than shopping they could do something for the local area, to “Pay it Forward”.
Jean Duquenne and Nigel Scott, are also new to the beach clean, were very enthusiastic to the extent that Jeanne, who works for Anglepoise in Portsmouth, and part of the Anglepoise community engagement group, is hoping to come back with an Anglepoise team! Nigel Scott has only recently moved into Southsea and explained that he felt that volunteering was a great way of getting involved in the local community.
James Rason-Flynn brought his two children Isabel (aged 7) and Thomas (aged 6). It was clear that both were thoroughly enjoying getting involved.
If you would like to find out more about ‘Southsea Beachwatch’ visit their Facebook page as they are always looking for more volunteers. The next beach clean is on Saturday 1st July. You can also check future dates from our events diary.
All photos credit: Brian Bracher