Margate Women’s Institute inspired by 70 year old resolution to launch clean up campaign

Margate WI members held a litter pick at Dane Park (Photo Margate WI)

Members of Margate Women’s Institute have launched their own campaign to help keep the town tidy.

Inspired by a resolution originally made by the Women’s Institute nearly 70 years ago, the isle group is taking to the streets and parks of Margate to pick up litter.

Their first organised litter pick was held in Dane Park today (8 May). Twelve members, assisted by a local resident, met with bags and other equipment to search and clear the green space of any rubbish.

A total of 13 bin bags were filled, mostly with plastic bags and waste, food wrappers, drinks cans and bottles and cigarette butts. A few more unusual items were found and cleared too, including a make-up brush, half a shoe and two pairs of underwear.

Photo NFWI Archives

The original resolution by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in 1954 called for a campaign to ‘preserve the countryside against desecration by litter’ and led to the formation of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, now an independent charity, which is well known today.

After seeing a photo of the original members from that campaign, Margate WI wanted to pay tribute to the good work those ladies started all those years ago.

Photo Margate WI

Margate WI’s first litter pick also coincided with The Big Help Out, an event arranged as part of His Majesty The King’s Coronation weekend, which encourages people to lend their time towards volunteering and other good deeds in their communities.

Mandy Jarvis, one of Margate WI’s litter pick organisers, said: “The level of plastic waste we found was a worry as it does not biodegrade so will stay in our park until someone physically picks it up.

“It is important that we each play our part in helping our communities to flourish. If somewhere is kept clean and free of litter, it is beneficial to wildlife but also encourages others to cherish it and keep it looking nice.

“In 1954 the original group of ladies who made the resolution and picked up the rubbish from their local countryside, probably never could have imagined that their actions would be inspiring others, decades later.

“Our thanks go to Thanet District Council for their assistance in collecting the waste, as well as Thanet Coast Project who loaned us the equipment for our first litter pick. We will be carrying out similar events around the town over the coming year, so if you see us, give us a wave.”

Margate WI meets  at 7.30pm on the second Thursday of every month at Cliffs.

Find the WI at @MargateWI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram