“Help tidy up your community rather than complain about it.”
So says Susan Murray, who has lived in Beeston for 25 years, and decided to join the local In Bloom group 10 years ago to help improve the community .
Susan is one of a team of volunteers who regularly take to the streets and green spaces of their neighbourhood to spruce it up, and much of the time, that means cleaning up other people’s litter.
“I thought they had a huge battle on their hands, so I decided to join them.” Susan says, when asked why she joined Beeston in Bloom.
“I’m sick of people on social media and in the press complaining about their community, but nobody does anything about it, and I didn’t want to be one of those people,” she explains.
“I thought ‘I CAN do something about it’.
“I think it’s a big problem, but not just in Beeston.
“We talk to other In Bloom groups, and they have problems in areas where you wouldn’t expect the issues.
“I get frustrated with people who drop litter, and with dog poo.
“And I challenge people now. Luckily when I have challenged people, nobody has said anything to me.
“But I do think more people should challenge people who are dropping litter.”
The YEP joined Susan and her colleagues on their latest litter pick at the Derek Fatchett Community Garden in Town Street.
Just a handful of non-regular volunteers turned up to the clean-up, despite - as Susan points out - weeks of publicity,
Among those giving up their morning were Andrew Scopes and his young family.
“We love Beeston,” the dad of three said. “We moved here in 2008. We love the community, the school is good and the children love the parks.
“But the more that people are involved in this sort of thing, the more it will help improve community spirit.”
The YEP has launched its new Keep Leeds Tidy campaign to encourage Loiners to reclaim their neighbourhoods, and rid them of the grime and anti social crime of litter, flytipping, dog mess and graffiti vandalism.
We revealed yesterday that Leeds has landed 8th in a national league of shame of flytipping hotspots, with clean-up costs for one recent year soaring past £1million.
The number of incidents of flytipping reported to Leeds City Council last year also surged to more than 16,000, a five year high and more than DOUBLE the fines for 2013/14.
Get in touch and tell us how your community is fighting back against the litter louts - and what you want the authorities to do.
We’ll put some of your questions direct to civic leaders in the coming days.
Call 0113 2388918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.