Community comes together to tidy Local Park

Litter pick (2)

Photography by Peter Wolstenholme

On Saturday afternoon a group of over thirty local volunteers led by the Birley Ward Labour Party removed nearly sixty bags of litter from Jaunty Park. The fifth time a ‘Birley Blitz’ event has brought the community together to make a real impact in Sheffield.

The volunteers included local labour councillors Karen McGowan, Bryan Lodge and Denise Fox, as well councillors Mike Drabble and Lynn Rooney from Arbourthorne and Richmond wards. The East Youth Forum, Sheffield Youth Justice Service, Labour Party members, local residents and Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Sheffield Heeley Louise Haigh rounded off the volunteers. All taking time out of their day to spend over two hours collecting litter and helping make the park a cleaner and safer place for everyone to enjoy.

The grey clouds did little to put off any of the volunteers according to Councillor Bryan Fox who said it was fantastic to see so many people come together, and that it was really encouraging to see the amount of litter actually being dropped in the area was reducing compared to the amount removed during the last Birley Blitz litter pick. Evidencing the positive differences the Birley Ward Labour Party is having in Jaunty Park and across the Birley area.

Local resident Janet Betts pulled on a pair of gloves and grabbed a litter picker to help out, afterwards with a smile on her face she said the event was ‘a great atmosphere with everyone digging in together to make a real difference to the area’.

A special thanks is also extended to Sheffield Parks and Countryside for providing equipment and removing the litter filled black sacks, to Peter Wolstenholme for taking photographs of the hard working volunteers, and finally to Sheffield Housing Services for providing a free of charge room for everyone to enjoy a much deserved tea and cake afterwards.

East Youth Forum presentation at Birley Ward Labour Party Branch Meeting


On Tuesday 26th November 2013 the Birley Ward Labour Party heard a very thought provoking presentation from two members of the East Youth Forum; Daniel Smith and Harley Cooper. Councillor Karen McGowan said “Members were very impressed with these two young people. Whenever I work with these them they never fail to impress me, they are an absolute pleasure to be around and great young ambassadors for the East of the city.” The meeting should have concluded at 9 pm but due to the interesting discussions it didn’t end until 9.50 p.m. Councillor Bryan Lodge said “We had a very interesting discussion on whether the voting age should be reduced to 16 years. Daniel and Harley conducted themselves with professionalism throughout”.

They also put forward a suggestion regarding an information board at the skate board informing the public how it came about and who had been involved. The Birley Ward Councillors are now in the process of taking this suggestion forward.

Birley Blitz Litter Pick at Hackenthorpe Skate Park

Hackenthorpe Skate Park Litter Pick

Photography by Peter Wolstenholme

Our thanks go to the Sheffield Youth Justice Service, East Youth Forum and Sheffield City Council Parks & Countryside who joined the Birley Ward Labour Councillors on the third Birley Blitz event on 31 October to clear litter from around the Hackenthorpe Skate Park. Birley Ward Councillor Karen McGowan said “although there wasn’t as much litter as we have found in the other areas it was a good effort by all who took part”. Thanks must also go to Rother Valley Church for joining us and also allowing us to use their premises for refreshments. Thanks also go Councillor Bryan Lodge for providing excellent homemade soup. Birley Ward Councillors undertook a walking surgery around the area after the litter pick and where joined by members of the East Youth Forum. Denise Fox said “we knocked on the doors of those houses that faced/backed onto the skate park. We had promised residents that we would consult with them six months after the skate park had been installed”. Councillor Bryan Lodge said “It was great to talk to residents as they were previously concerned that the skate park could attract anti-social behaviour. The residents were pleased with the park but raised concerns over litter.” Councillors are now responding to this by investigating if another bin and signs can be installed. For details of future events go to

Birley Blitz event at Hackenthorpe Skate Park on 31 October 2013

This is your invitation to join the third Birley Blitz event on Thursday 31 October.
Your local Councillors have joined together with the East Youth Forum, Sheffield Youth Justice Service and Sheffield City Council Parks and Countryside Department to undertake a litter pick around the Hackenthorpe Skate Park area. We hope that litter picking events become a regular feature around the Birley Ward. Please come and join us everyone is welcome.

We will be meeting at 1.30 p.m. at Hackenthorpe Skate Park. From 2.30- 3 p.m. light refreshments will be available in Rother Valley Church on Spa View Road. From 3-5 p.m. your local Labour Councillors along with members of the East Youth Forum will be on a walkabout around the area to talk to residents if they have any issues.

Second Birley Blitz Event

Your Birley Ward Labour Councillors have organised a second Birley Blitz Litter Pick event to take place on Saturday 14 September. The area to be cleared of litter is the open space between the Eastglade and Scowerdons estates. They will be joined on the day by the Youth Justice Service, members of the East Youth Forum and local residents as well as the local MP Clive Betts. They will be meeting at Scowerdons Community Centre at 10 a.m. Gloves, Litter pickers, sacks and wheel barrows etc have been provided by Sheffield City Council Parks and Countryside. The event will end at 1 p.m. and light refreshments will be available. Everyone is welcome so please come and join us.

Birley Blitz is a Great Success

Birley BlitzPhoto taken by Peter Wolstenholme

The first Birley Blitz event took place on Thursday 25 July. In response to complaints of litter in Jaunty Park by local residents your local Labour Councillors have joined together with local residents, the Youth Justice Service, staff from Parks and Country side, Sheffield Futures and the East Youth Forum. Also helping out on the day were Richmond Ward Councillor Lynn Rooney and Clive Betts, Labour MP for South East Sheffield.

Councillor Karen McGowan said “a big thank you to all those who took part, they worked extremely hard and we managed to collect over 50 bags as well as some other more unusual items such as a headboard, a carpet, a leather jacket to name but a few.”

Staff and young people from the Sheffield Youth Justice Service participated in the Birley Blitz – ‘keeping our communities clean and green’. Armed with gloves, brushes, bags, barrows and litter picks this was an opportunity for young people working with the Youth Justice Service to make a restorative contribution to the local area whilst also developing links with local residents and increasing their awareness of environmental issues. A lavish spread was provided and prepared by other Youth Justice staff and young people which was a welcome sight at lunch time for hot and hungry volunteers.

Sheffield Futures East Youth Forum joined in the Birley Blitz to clean up Jaunty Park as litter is one of their priorities this year. Ryan Pickersgill is taking the lead in this area on behalf of the East Youth Forum and said “we are here representing all young people of the East to keep the area clean and tidy. I hope in the future that people will use bins and also come and join us in future clean ups”

Councillor Bryan Lodge said “It was a great turn out for this first event and I hope people will join us for the next Birley Blitz event which will be on Saturday 14 September 2013. We will be meeting at Scowerdons Community Centre at 10 a.m. the event will end at 1 p.m. and everyone is welcome”.

Community working with McDonalds on Litter Picking Event

McDonald's Drakehouse Litter Pick 21-7-13 (2)Birley Ward Labour Councillor Karen McGowan and Beighton Ward Councillor Ian Saunders joined staff from McDonalds at Drakehouse on Sunday 21 July. They were also joined by the young people from the East Youth Forum and members of the community to litter pick main roads in the Beighton, Waterthorpe, Sothall areas. Councillor McGowan said “It was amazing to see how much litter was collected in such a short space of time. I initially thought the majority of litter would be from take away food but this wasn’t the case. The largest amounts came from plastic bottles, cans and cigarette packets. We collected over 40 bags and McDonalds litter made up less than 10% of what we collected. I would like to thank everyone who took part for getting up on a Sunday morning they all worked very hard and made me feel very welcome.”