With over 1,500 members, Canterbury ‘grot-spots’ is a Facebook group for those who care about the state of the city, the river and the local parks and green spaces.
Created seven years ago by Cllr Oliver Fawcett (a former Barton ward councillor), who was working together with members of the local community in trying to raise awareness of the problems of littering, fly-tipping and graffiti across the city.
We caught up with Sian Pettman, one of the local administrators of the group, alongside other residents and local councillors, to find out more about the aims and ethos of the group.
Sian explained that the aims of the group are to encourage local residents to:
- Flag up areas the city that badly affected by litter, fly-tipping and graffiti (all too often, these areas are simply hidden or ignored).
- Publicise litter-picks and other community initiatives to help clean these areas up.
- Highlight links to the Council’s website to encourage people to report problems.
“The ethos of the group is to encourage residents to be pro-active in dealing with problems, either by reporting them to the Council or by working with others to tackle them directly. The group provides a useful vehicle for flagging up issues to local councillors and encouraging everyone to take much greater pride in the place that we live.”
Many of the active members of the group organise litter-picks with their local residents’ associations and community groups and also publicise these on the group.
“Several years ago there was a social stigma about litter-picking,” explained Sian. “This has changed. It is now quite common to see ordinary residents out with litter-pickers and a litter sack. What we need is a social stigma about dropping litter in the first place.
“The reason that a group like ‘grot-spots’ is important is that it allows people who are deeply concerned by the problems of litter, fly-tipping and graffiti to touch base with like-minded individuals and start to create ‘a culture of care’. Dealing with these problems in isolation can be very depressing and soul-destroying.
“It is motivating to know that there are others in Canterbury who will give up their spare time to tackle these problems, and this encourages others to do likewise.”