Since October 2018, the Grange Association has arranged with the Council for a combined effort to clear leaves from our streets each autumn. The Council has agreed to provide strong black bags, shovels and brushes and to collect filled bags. We have mobilised a team of volunteer sweepers.
The October 2018 appeal was sent to all Grange Association members on our email list. Initially, over 40 people responded saying they would help. The Council delivered 700 bags and 15 shovels and brushes to five addresses whose owners had offered to provide storage facilities for this equipment. Over the following four weeks, volunteers worked to clear many of the streets. Some got together with neighbours to clear their own streets; others worked in groups in areas with particularly large leaf falls; others cleared areas (such as Lover’s Loan) with no residents. Gutters where compacted leaves appeared to be several years old were particularly heavy work. Every few days we told the Council where we had left piles of filled black bags – these were usually picked up within a few days.
Most of those who helped seemed to enjoy the work. It was an opportunity to meet neighbours and there was satisfaction in seeing clean pavements and gutters. Some people felt that we were doing work that the Council should be doing but it allowed us to appreciate the difficult task the Council has in clearing all streets of fallen leaves in a short period. In 2018, many volunteers filled over 600 bags which were collected by the Council. Some people commented as they passed us; others ignored us. Many thanked us; others complained that we were in their way or preventing them from parking. A few asked if we were “doing community service?” A small child climbed out of her buggy to put a few handfuls of leaves into a bag.
The Council commended the Grange Association for its work and promised to clean the streets we were unable to clear. The Council also agreed to collaborate with us again in subsequent years. We will issue reminders in the September newsletter each year about our detailed leaf clearing plans for that year are and how you can get involved.
Sue Tritton leads this work and we are extremely grateful to her for the hard work and dedication she has provided to make this leaf clearing work such a visible and valuable contribution to the Grange and the community. Her list of volunteers now exceeds 100. If you want to join Sue’s team that clears the streets of leaves, please contact her at Sue.Tritton@grangeassociation.com. There has been positive press coverage of our leaf-clearing work and requests from other areas for assistance in setting up groups of their own.
We recognise and understand that many will wish to focus on clearing the leaves from the streets near where they stay. We are very pleased to support such street-specific activity and you are welcome to borrow brooms, shovels and bags from us for that, and for you to advise us when bags of leaves need collection from the street by the Council. We rely on the fair-play of residents to use this only for leaves that have fallen in the street, and not to seek to dispose of excess garden waste in these bags, for which the brown bins are intended.
If you are clearing your own garden, please dispose of your leaves in your brown bin or by taking them to the recycling centre. Please don’t sweep leaves out into the street. We have had a few regrettable examples where leaf blowers have been used to blow leaves into the street where our volunteers subsequently have to remove them. Likewise, if you stay in a development that has commercial garden contractors who clear the grounds, please ensure that your contract requires them to remove any leaves or other garden waste they gather from your site.