Youth group's drive to keep litter off the beach set to target Sunderland Airshow visitors

A Sunderland youth group is leading a campaign to keep the city’s beaches free from litter.

By Tony Gillan
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 11:45
Sunderland Youth Council is urging airshow crowds to take their litter home with them.

Sunderland Youth Council (SYC) gives a voice to people aged 13-19 across the city and has joined a social action project, spreading the word around major events, including the Sunderland Airshow, that there is no excuse for dropping litter.

One member of the group, talented artist and Monkwearmouth Academy pupil Polly Davies, has created a striking poster to support the campaign. It depicts a seagull in danger of choking as it struggles to free itself from some discarded plastic that had previously held a six-pack of beer.

The group is working alongside the charity Groundwork NE and Cumbria, which aims to protect wildlife and the environment across the North East. The social action project is called #iwill and is funded by Virgin Money.

Artist Polly Davies, 15, who created the poster.

Groundwork deals with various youth and school groups across Sunderland on several #iwill projects, with the aim of preserving and improving local communities and environments and raising awareness of the issues.

Polly, 15, said: “We’ve created a social action group with Groundwork, based around the beaches. The beaches are already really clean, so we said ‘Why not keep them that way?’

“I had seen images on the news of turtles suffering because plastic. But a turtle wouldn’t have been as effective in Sunderland, so I used a seagull and the others all really liked it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’re really trying to make a difference to the people of Sunderland.”

The SYC is one of the participation groups of Together For Children, which works for children across Sunderland.

Their engagement officer, Sylvia Hopper said: “They’re taking the posters down Sea Road and asking the vendors if they can display them on their stalls.

“This isn’t just a one-off. It’s part of an ongoing project. They’ll be doing a litter pick at Galley’s Gill at the bottom of Hylton Road on August 21.”

Groundwork’s community project manager, Rachael Courtney said: “Sunderland Youth Council have been working on an anti-litter campaign, focusing on the beaches and rivers of Sunderland.

“The group has made some headway in contacting local groups and shop owners in order to get the message out there.”