A thriving community action group is looking for more local people to get involved with its drive to keep Teesside tidy after securing new sponsorship from Newcastle Building Society.

Keeping Yarm & Eaglescliffe Tidy was set up in April last year to help coordinate local residents’ efforts to address littering issues across the area.

More than 200 local people have already joined the group and have so far collected over 1,200 bags of rubbish between them, which are then taken away by Yarm Town Council.

The group holds weekly litter picking sessions in different locations around the area and also provides equipment to individuals who can collect rubbish during their daily activities, such as on dog walks or while they’re exercising.

Newcastle Building Society’s support has now enabled the group to buy new hi-vis vests and litter pickers, which will enable it to provide more people with the equipment they need to get involved.

Cliff Johnson, Keeping Yarm & Eaglescliffe Tidy coordinator, says: “During the pandemic, many of us had taken more notice of problems with litter around the area and had started to take our own steps to try to tackle them.

“Our group was formed to try to bring all these individual efforts together and we’ve been able to make a very noticeable impact so far, with the Council’s support in disposing of all the rubbish that we collect being very helpful.

“We know there are certain litter hotspots around the area that we visit regularly, but we’re always open to suggestions for new locations that need to be tidied up, and the more people we can get involved, the better.

“Getting Newcastle Building Society’s backing means that we now have more equipment available, and as well as being able to welcome more volunteers to our group sessions, we can drop off equipment at volunteers’ homes, so they can get involved how, when and where suits them best.”

Carrieanne Wilford, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Yarm Library branch, adds: “As the North East’s biggest building society, we’re committed to supporting the communities in which we operate.

“Keeping Yarm & Eaglescliffe Tidy have made a big difference to the local area in just a few short months, and members of our team have really enjoyed being part of the litter picking groups too.”

For more information on volunteering with Keeping Yarm & Eaglescliffe Tidy and its programme of local activities, visit its Facebook page.