Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 02/05/19

Solihull Mail.

One of the best things about a parliamentary recess is the opportunity to step back from Westminster and take the time to appreciate life in Solihull.

In my years representing our town in Parliament I have seen first-hand just how much of what makes it special owes to the extraordinary efforts of hundreds – probably thousands – of people who volunteer with our charities, sports clubs, and community groups.

As your MP I try to do my bit to recognise these efforts through things like my Points of Light award, and this week I’d like to use this column to tell you about the outstanding but perhaps under-appreciated work of our local litter-pickers.

If you’re not familiar with it, you might be surprised at just how big and well-organised our community clean-up teams are in Solihull. Over the year there must be hundreds of people taking time out – even if it’s just a couple of hours – to look after their corner of Solihull.

Sometimes these are just individuals posting about their efforts on a neighbourhood Facebook page. Others are organised by groups such as the Friends of Shirley Park and the Elmdon Park Support Group. I previously went out with the Olton Literary Litter Pickers, and local councillor Katy Blunt told me they regularly attract between 15 and 30 people per outing. Still more are laid on by local businesses.

What all of these groups have in common is that they are supported by Love Solihull. This is Solihull Council’s official environmental initiative, and it works with a number of community initiatives across the borough.

In this case, it means that any rubbish collected on a litter pick – so long as its put into the special ‘Love Solihull’ bags issued on the day – will be collected free of charge along with your regular rubbish.

Litter picks are run out of a number of ‘hubs’ across the borough. These are: Castle Bromwich Library; Solihull Connect, Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre; Hobs Moat Library; Kingshurst Library; Knowle Library; Olton Library; and Shirley Library.

If you’d like to learn more, visit www.lovesolihull.org, or email lovesolihull@solihull.gov.uk. Perhaps I’ll see you out there soon!

Originally published in the Solihull Mail, 02/05/19.