Alex Skinner is a community and communications manager at VolkerFitzpartick, a large engineering and construction company. Based in Winchester, he regularly litter-picks in our district. In this article, he writes about why he does so much to help keep Winchester tidy. Thank you, Alex!

“Litter-picking, at least for me, is both rewarding and frustrating. There’s a small feeling of accomplishment at filling a bag and seeing an area looking clean again. Then there’s the frustration of seeing litter build up and knowing that, despite your best efforts, it’ll be back.

“I’m very happy to be a Winchester resident. I’ve lived here for nearly thirty years and, for some of that time, worked in the area. My son spent a lot of his childhood growing up here and, later, his wife and their first child stayed for a few months.

“My work involves motorway and trunk roads, with the M3 and A34 having a significant impact on Winchester. The M3 Junction 9 Improvement Scheme, affecting both roads, has received approval from the Secretary of State and will begin main construction in early 2025.

“Connecting Winchester with the rest of the country (and well beyond), these roads bring countless opportunities and benefits to the city and its occupants. Sadly, they also contribute to the never-ending amount of litter we see lining the roads and paths.

“As giving back to the community is becoming an increasingly important element of my work, getting involved in litter-picking was an obvious opportunity and we’ve pledged to get out at least once a month. Although litter-picking is not going to be our sole contribution, I was extremely grateful to be introduced to Tom Bristowe and The Litter Partnership, who provide not only practical advice along with endless support and enthusiasm, but also act as a link to the wider community, all of which is priceless.

“While not all litter comes from vehicles, it is hard to ignore their contribution. Highly visible food and sweet wrappers, drinks cans, plastic and glass bottles, tissues, nappies, clothing, vape pens, cigarette butts, parts of cars including hubcaps, licence plates and fragments of bumpers – all discarded and abandoned. Worse is seeing the sheer volume of tiny plastic fragments accumulating underfoot.

“What started as a ‘for work’ requirement has turned into a bit of a passion project and I find myself more frequently sneaking out at weekends for an hour or so, collecting litter. For someone who is admittedly gym-averse, it’s a great way to get out in the fresh air and get a little exercise. It’s also helped me better appreciate and value the beauty of Winchester and the local area.

“I’m happy to be a Winchester resident and now am even happier to be a Winchester resident who takes pride in their environment.”

Alex is pictured above with Cllr Sue Cook, a councillor at Winchester City Council, who also regularly litter-picks in the district. If you also do something to help keep Winchester tidy, please write in. We would be delighted to celebrate your efforts here.