Volunteers out in force for Keep Leeds Tidy drive

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Dozens of volunteers took to the streets of a Leeds suburb for a community clean-up as part of a partnership between McDonalds and your Yorkshire Evening Post.

The YEP launched the Keep Leeds Tidy campaign earlier this year to encourage Loiners to reclaim their neighbourhoods, and rid them of the grime and the anti-social crimes of litter, flytipping, dog mess and graffiti vandalism.

We asked readers to nominate an area in desperate need of some TLC as part of the battle to keep the city clean.

And after people in Butt Lane, Bramley, stated the strongest case, volunteers from fast food giant McDonald’s have taken to the area with their litter pickers and high-visibility jackets in a bid to give local streets a spruce up.

Around 40 volunteers, made up of McDonalds staff from across Leeds branches as well as customers, gave up a morning to take part.

Among them was Karen Smailes, who said: “I think it’s important to support the community and to make sure that businesses like McDonalds participate in community events.

“This is a place I use with my granddaughter, we come down and have breakfast some mornings.

“I’m more than happy to support it to keep the community looking good.”

She said it was frustrating to see people littering, and called on fellow locals to do their bit to show pride in the neighbourhood.

“We just witnessed somebody driving and throwing litter out of the car window because they have seen us picking up. It’s their community too, it’s our community.”

Saj Shah, franchisee at McDonalds in Bramley, said: “It’s nice that we had customers as well, not just crew from McDonalds, helping out.

“We do regular pickups three times a day in all our restaurants but a couple of times a year we look at putting some big initiatives together.

“We actually had more people come along today than we needed , which is great to see.”

“There’s a litter issue in a lot of areas, and this is certainly no different.

“We as well as other businesses have to play our part.”

Asked how the firm balances out its role in creating the litter in the first place with promoting the anti-litter message, he added: “We balance it out by playing an active part on a daily basis, by talking to our customers as they come into the restaurant and by working with the local community.”

The YEP revealed earlier this year that the number of penalty fines for littering have soared in recent years.

The city also landed 8th in a national league of shame of flytipping hotspots, with clean-up costs for one recent year soaring past £1million.