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‘A place to be proud of’

An army of community volunteers have been helping Ealing Council to keep the borough’s streets look cleaner.

Residents’ satisfaction in street cleanliness is significantly up, with customer complaints dropping from 170 in 2019/20 to just 27 in 2022/23.

One group in particular that works closely with the council and its in-house street cleaning service, Greener Ealing Ltd, is Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents, better known as LAGER Can.

Last year, LAGER Can members clocked up more than 16,500 voluntary hours – and that’s only from the people who recorded the time they had contributed.

The residents’ group runs regular community clear-ups and works with the council to arrange collections of litter, helping to bring a sense of pride in the community and keep the borough’s seven towns litter free.

LAGER Can was founded in 2017 by Keith Freegard, a Hanwell resident who was upset by people dumping rubbish in his local park. By June 2020, the group had a borough-wide following and had 375 members and a strong social media presence.

Fast forward three years and the group now has more than 2,000 Facebook members, and more than 1,000 followers on X – formerly Twitter, and Instagram. It has more active members who are not part of the online community.

‘Unbeatable for my mental health’

Cathy Swift, who runs the group, said: “Seeing litter and rubbish used to make me feel depressed but it doesn’t anymore because I’m doing something about it. I’ve made lots of friends through the group, too.

“I find it unbeatable for my mental health, I would’ve found lockdown so hard if I hadn’t been out and active as part of the group.”

The group received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in 2021, which is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups.

‘A place to be proud of’

Councillor Deirdre Costigan, Ealing Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action, said: “Community groups like LAGER Can are a fantastic asset to the borough. I’d like to thank everyone who helps our street cleaners to keep Ealing free from litter, making it a place to be proud of.

“Volunteers from LAGER Can also help us build evidence and intelligence so we can come after the minority of people who blight our borough by dropping litter or fly tipping. We also work with local groups to identify hot spots for CCTV so we can catch fly tippers in the act and fine them.”

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