Every can counts! How litter-pickers in Winchester are helping raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance

Litter-pickers across the district of Winchester have joined an extraordinary campaign to raise money, lots of it, for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA).

A few months ago, Alison Kukla of CPRE Hampshire, who leads much of the district’s litter-picking activities, joined forces with David and Janice Lipscombe of Kings Worthy, who – for several years – have been collecting aluminium, trading it in at a local recycling centre and gifting the proceeds to the air ambulance charity.

As well as having a collection bin at their home, Janice and David now oversee a total of 25 bins across the district, from Fair Oak to South Wonston. Combining the collections once a month, the metal is taken to an industrial recycling centre for weighing and payment.

With word spreading fast, a growing number of people are in on the act – from dog walkers, litter-picking groups, and businesses like idverde, Winchester City Council’s street scene contractor – all picking up and collecting cans and other metals to convert into cash for a good cause.

Since the inception of the scheme, over £5,000 has been raised for HIOWAA, with the current run rate around £400 per month – a magnificent result from simply picking up litter in the environment, and diverting cans, foils and other metals from our domestic bins. “Where there is muck there is brass,” said Alun Newman of BBC Radio Solent when he recently interviewed Tom Bristowe, founder of the Litter Partnership in Winchester.

David Lipscombe, who with his wife Janice, leads the ‘every can counts’ initiative, said: “We’re so proud of what we’re achieving together. People are getting involved for all sorts of reasons. One person ‘hosts’ a collection bin because she once had to call out the air ambulance to rescue her son from a life threatening accident; another supporter is from a family of tree surgeons. You just never know when you might the assistance of the air ambulance and their amazingly skilled staff.”

Alison Kukla of CPRE Hampshire added: “The Lipscombes are an inspiration to us all. Anything aluminium can be collected – think drinks cans, wine bottle tops, aluminium foil, pie cases, tea light holders, foil sweet wrappings. Copper and other metals can also be collected. We would love more people to get involved, either by hosting a bin, by collecting metal at home, or by picking up cans on a walk – as a growing number of litter-pickers are now doing.”

Richard Corbett, CEO of HIOWAA, commented: “We are so grateful for Janice and David Lipscombe’s amazing hard work and commitment. With Winchester’s litter-pickers now supporting this initiative, we’re thrilled that these wonderful people are not only saving lives in our community but also cleaning the environment.”

To get involved, please go to the Facebook page Aluminium Can Recycling (Hampshire & IOW Air Ambulance) or The Litter Partnership website.