Leigh firm lends a helping hand to keep the streets clean

Stephen Dorricott of Astley Hire, Westleigh Womble volunteer litter pickers Linzi and Bev Rigby, children Hannah Aspinall, 11 and Grace Rothwell 10, from Westleigh Methodist School's eco warriors team, and councillors Mark and Karen Aldred
Stephen Dorricott of Astley Hire, Westleigh Womble volunteer litter pickers Linzi and Bev Rigby, children Hannah Aspinall, 11 and Grace Rothwell 10, from Westleigh Methodist School's eco warriors team, and councillors Mark and Karen Aldred
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A community spirited team of residents have doubled the amount of rubbish collected on their estate which was blighted by fly-tippers, thanks to a grant from Leigh firm Astley Hire.

The Westleigh Wombles are winning the battle against fly-tippers and litterbugs who have blighted their housing estate for several years.

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The voluntary clean-up team was set up to combat the huge amount of litter and dumped waste strewn across the streets and alleyways of the 900-home Trees estate in Leigh.

Thanks to a generous £400 grant from Astley Hire, as part of the company’s Community Foundation programme, the six-strong group of litter pickers are now fully-equipped with trolleys and hi-vis jackets allowing them to collect double the amount of rubbish.

The group was recently joined on a spring clean-up day by children from Westleigh primary school’s eco warriors team, councillors Mark and Karen Aldred, who represent the Atherleigh and Atherton wards, and Stephen Dorricott, MD of Astley Hire.

Karen Battersby, who started the Westleigh Wombles said: “As a group we have seen mattresses, cookers and bedding, anything you can think of is dumped.

“There can be bin bags, carrier bags, wheelie bins tipped over and general rubbish.

“Since I’ve lived here it’s always been bad for fly-tipping and rubbish. I’d had enough.

“I was sick of it. You’re opening your curtains every day and looking at it everywhere.

“I just got to the point where I thought I don’t want to live like this and I should try to do something about it.

“I initially started litter picking off my own back.

“Other people living on the estate saw me doing it and said they’d like to help. It went from there really.

“We do it for an hour once every fortnight as we’ve all got other commitments.

“We’re making a real difference and the estate is much better than it was. Of course the situation isn’t perfect, but what we’re doing does help.

“The group was initially set up and equipped with the help of Wigan Council as part of The Deal. We are extremely lucky and grateful to have the full support of our estate caretaker, who collects any bags of rubbish for us as quickly as he possibly can.”

The donation from Astley Hire, who have been in business 50 years and employ 26 staff across seven divisions anchored at its Jury Street headquarters in Leigh, has given the team a huge boost.

Karen said: “We’ve been able to buy trolleys with the money which has been vital.

“The trolleys enable us to get further up the estate because we no longer have to carry the bags by hand. They’ve been so useful.

“We collect 12 bags a fortnight now we have the trolleys. We only used to be able to fill four or five so it’s really helped.

“We’ve also purchased hi-vis jackets with our name and Astley Hire on the back so people know who we are. We got litter pickers, gloves and dustbin and brushes.

“We’ve also got these circular hoop which attach to the opening of the bin bag so when it’s windy the bag stays open.

“We’re so grateful to Astley Hire as they’ve helped us so much.

“I’ve been posting pictures of our litter picks on their Facebook page to say thank you and show how they’ve helped us.”