Back in December 2022, we were very over-excited to coin the idea of a huge clean-up event we nicknamed ‘The Right Royal Clean-Up’ to coincide with the Coronation weekend for King Charles III. A few weeks later, it was announced nationally that the Monday bank holiday tied to the coronation would be a day to focus on volunteering – The Big Help Out. We were thrilled that we could use the day to really push the Right Royal Clean-Up and encourage as many volunteers as possible to take part.
In the end, we are incredibly proud to report that we had over 400 volunteers for the event around Chichester and Langstone Harbours and beyond. We enlisted the help of the Chichester Harbour Federation Environmental Forum to specifically help us push it out to sailing clubs* in the area, in addition to the general public. The event saw hundreds of kilograms of rubbish collected around the south coast, from East Sussex to Portsmouth. Fittingly, the day also coincided with the 97th birthday of Sir David Attenborough!
An incredible 432 volunteers pick up a huge 591 kilograms of rubbish from around the area. Volunteers had signed up to take part from Uckfield in East Sussex to Portsmouth, many as part of larger groups. A huge part of the rubbish picked up was plastic food and drinks packaging, including crisp packets, sweet wrappers, plastic and glass bottles and aluminium cans.
In Emsworth, 104 volunteers joined FSF at Emsworth Sailing Club to clean up the local area. Collaborating with the Bridge to Unity (another local non-profit), we were happy to see 66kg of rubbish collected from the shoreline and local town. We sorted the waste into rubbish that cannot be recycled, to be collect by the local council, and things like aluminium drinks cans, and plastic and glass bottles that we took off to be recycled.
Our CEO, Bianca, was thrilled with the turnout. ‘We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers who came out to help with the Right Royal Clean-Up litter-picking event as part of the Big Help Out! Together we were able to remove nearly 600 kilograms of waste from our local shores, green spaces and villages. The volunteers’ commitment to the cause is truly inspiring and is really what keeps us going as a charity. It’s not always easy to give up time and spend a few hours picking up rubbish, but their willingness to pitch in and help out is a testament to the power of community and the difference we can make when we work together.’
Sue Nash, from the Chichester Harbour Federation Environmental Forum, said, ‘The Environmental Forum consists of Chichester Harbour Federation Sailing Clubs and marine businesses with the aim of working together to ensure that Chichester Harbour continues to be a place for inspiration, enjoyment and wellbeing for the next generation. Sailing Clubs are working hard to decrease their impact on the environment by becoming greener and more sustainable. Whether a royalist or not, the principle behind communities and volunteers coming together to improve their local area was a great one, and we were happy to see that so much rubbish was removed from the marine environment and local public spaces.’
One of the aims of the Big Help Out is that the volunteering inspired by the Coronation is not just for one day – it encourages longer-term volunteering if possible. We welcome volunteers to come along to regular beach cleans around the local area throughout the year. Head to our page on upcoming events to find out about upcoming public beach cleans in the local area.
*West Wittering Sailing Club, Itchenor Sailing Club, Chichester Yacht Club, Dell Quay Sailing Club, Bosham Sailing Club, Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club, Emsworth Sailing Club, Langstone Sailing Club, Mengeham Rythe Sailing Club, Hayling Island Sailing Club, Havant Youth Sail Training School.