Streets of Galashiels set for a spring clean

The group of volunteers who look after the gardens of Old Gala House pick litter along the steep banking at Huddersfield Street in Galashiels.
The group of volunteers who look after the gardens of Old Gala House pick litter along the steep banking at Huddersfield Street in Galashiels.

Residents of Galashiels have come together in a bid to rid the town of the scourge of litter.

It’s a problem which has been a bugbear for several members of the town’s community council for some time – not to mention many residents – but now various groups are getting together to put an end to “the midden”.

The latest work party of Galashiels Waterways Group,

The latest work party of Galashiels Waterways Group,

Professional dog walker Angela Crow, who runs the Plodders dog walking business, is urging fellow dog walkers to pick up litter as well as their dog’s poo.

She said: “I have always picked up litter on my travels as it drives me mad, but at the start of the year, I saw a group on Facebook called Paws on Plastic, whick urges dog walkers to use any spare poo bags to pick up plastic waste.

“I thought, what a fantastic idea!

“However, I pick up waste one day and the next, there’s more. It was driving me round the bend, so I thought I would start up my own Facebook page to raise awareness, and to get other people interested.

“It’s called Galashiels Against Litter Anywhere, or GALA for short.

“People I have spoken to think it’s a great idea as well, and we’re currently looking towards co-ordinating teams of volunteers who would look after their own patch.”

The group of volunteers that meets every Thursday morning during the summer to maintain the gardens in the town’s Old Gala House has turned its attention to elsewhere in the town.

The group’s Johnny Gray told us: “During the past five weeks we have carried out litter picks around the town – Stirling Street, Currie Road, Huddersfield Street, Netherdale, and Banks Street Gardens – and some have required return visits.

“With the assistance of the council, we removed more than 100 bags of rubbish to the tip.

“At the rate the litter is being dropped, it will take a clean-up every week for it to have any effect.”

For six years, the Galashiels Waterways Group has been clearing out decades of detritus from the banks of the Gala Water as it snakes its way through the town. Just last month, the group claimed a small victory after it had been noted that otters had returned to the river after years of absence.

The latest work party of 17 volunteers dragged 400kg of metal bars and pipes, as well as around 100kg of rubbish, from the banks of the river at the Skinworks cauld in Wilderhaugh.

Now the group’s chairwoman, Liz Jardine, is planning a mass clean-up of the town next month.

She said: “We are putting together a team of volunteers for a major clean.

“Our town has the potential to be the envy of all, but it is marred by people who can’t find a bucket or take their rubbish home.

“If you care about your town and don’t want to see it plagued by litter, come along and join us.”

She added: “The academy is putting together a teamof pupils to tackle Scott Park and the Policies as well ... it’s great to get the youths involved.

The clean-up takes place on Saturday, April 6, from 10am-noon. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Riverside car park, across from the Interchange, wearing stout boots.

Safety equipment such as gloves, litter pickers and hi-vis vests will be available,

Anyone interested in helping out can call Liz on 01896 664739.