For the last three years, idverde, Winchester City Council’s street scene contractor, has offered a ‘flexible litter-picking support service’ to residents of the district who want to do something to help tackle the scourge of litter in their local neighbourhoods. Every Saturday morning, and on request at other times during the week, the company offers the services of its employees to help volunteers litter-pick the verges of countryside roads and lanes safely.

This arrangement has proved an outstanding success and, on 7 March, two idverde employees – Gary Peacock and Yannis Samoilis (see image) – each received a Mayor of Winchester’s Community Award for their contribution at a ceremony at the Guildhall (see image).

Tom Bristowe, founder of the Litter Partnership in Winchester, said: “Gary and Yannis provide an extraordinary service for volunteer litter-pickers in Winchester.

“Every Saturday morning and on other agreed dates, thanks to their company idverde, they devote their time to support volunteer litter-pickers, meeting us at a location of our choice, bringing the necessary equipment, driving behind us in their vans so we can clear miles of roadside verges safely, and then taking away bags of rubbish and other debris. They are always on time, practical, and cheerful.

“Gary and Yannis have become a much-loved and respected members of the volunteer litter-picking community in Winchester. We could not do our work without them and – for all these reasons – I am delighted they have been recognised by the Mayor for their outstanding contribution to our community.”

Cllr Sue Cook, councillor for Colden Common and Twyford, added: “I regularly litter-pick roads in my area with local friends. We absolutely love Gary and Yannis and are so grateful for what they do to help us. I have no doubt that living in a place free of litter is good for the health and well-being not only of local people but also local wildlife. I only wish people would stop throwing litter out of their car windows – and use bins in lay-bys or at home. If we all did this, we would save a lot of time and money and ensure we can focus on other ways to make our villages and countryside better places to live.”

Other groups which have recently taken advantage of idverde’s ‘flexible litter-picking support service’ include Corhampton Golf Club, whose members tidied the external boundaries of their course, and Hambledon Parish Council, which arranged for residents to spend a morning with Gary Peacock and Yannis Samoilis tiding their parish.

If you live in the district of Winchester and would like to tackle a litter hotspot in your area, contact The Litter Partnership for help.