Eight-year-old leads Hull’s Litter Squad to Keep Britain Tidy Award Finals.
Since the start of lockdown, Freyah Ryan has been spending her hour of exercise in lockdown picking litter to improve the environment in her local area and has been nominated for a Keep Britain Tidy award for her efforts.
The eight-year-old, who has been picking litter with mum, Danielle Rhodes, from the age of four, says she is “very excited” to have been nominated for the award which rewards excellence and innovation in improving local environmental quality.
The young girl inspired other volunteers her age to carry out community litter picks in her area and called themselves The Litter Squad.
Since they set up their Facebook group in June, the group has grown to over 380 members and has 20 children “active” picking litter in the community. Hull City Council organisation, Love Your Street, helped the group grow by providing them with ‘starter kits’ for children so they could pick litter safely.
These starter kits include litter-picking claws, protective gloves and hi-vis vests with group name “Litter Squad” on the back. Their Amazon wishlist allows people to make donations to the group by providing them with the kit they need. So far the Litter Squad has given out 60 litter-picking kits to the children aspiring to clean up their communities.
The initial plan was to raise money for Chester Zoo who produced at-home learning resources which mum says Freyah “connected with”. In their first month, they managed to raise over £500 for the Zoo which Freyah’s mum says “were in trouble at the time”.
The interest in what they were doing grew as “more and more people started to like what we were doing, enjoying the resources we were sharing and decided to get involved themselves,” said Rhodes.
Sara Clayton is the Environmental Improvement Team Leader for Hull City Council and was the one who nominated Freyah and Danielle for the award. “They have inspired a whole new generation of litter pickers here in Hull and we are pleased to support their innovative and educational campaign” she said.
“Hull’s communities will be reaping the rewards of their work for years to come,” added Clayton.
People in the community have been so thankful for the hard work of these children that they have started to donate prizes and medals to celebrate the work they are doing.
“We are doing something for the community, for the elderly, for the wildlife and they are getting their own exercise themselves,” says Rhodes, “it’s a win-win all round”.
Danielle takes responsibility for making sure the children are safe when they go out on their rounds making sure they only pick plastic, paper, cans and masks, leaving glass to the adult supervisors to clear.
Freyah made it past the shortlist stage and is now a finalist. She will find out if she has won the award on Wednesday 3 February during the virtual Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards ceremony 2021.
UPDATE 04.02.21: they won!