Thornhill residents help to clean up Sunderland’s streets

MP Julie Elliott and the team of volunteer litter-pickers
MP Julie Elliott and the residents of Thornhill who assisted in the community clean up.

Residents in the Thornhill community have banded together in an effort to clean up the streets in the wake of Government budget cuts to Council budgets in Sunderland.

In 2016 alone, more than 90 cleaners have left the council with the levels of council employees since 2010 already being almost halved. Even though the council has avoided mass compulsory redundancies, staff numbers have been reduced dramatically.

A spokesman for the Sunderland City Council stated that: “The Council has now reached a point there it can no longer protect the public from seeing deeper cuts to front-line services.

“More than £200m has come out of council budgets in the last six years, and there are further reductions coming because of the government’s austerity programme.

“Since March 2010, the council has avoided mass compulsory redundancies but it has reduced staff numbers from more than 7,700 to 4,000.

Rev. Chris Howson, Sunderland University Chaplain and his daughter help in the clean-up efforts.
Rev. Chris Howson, Sunderland University Chaplain and his daughter help in the clean-up efforts.

“The council, which will set its next budget in 2017 following consultation, would remind all residents to dispose of any rubbish or waste appropriately.”

To cope with the shortage of street sweepers, litter picks have been organised by councillors across Sunderland both to help clear up litter and educate residents about littering.

Thornhill Residents Chris and Lizzy Taylor came with their daughter Heidi to help with the clean up.

Chris Taylor commented: “If you leave litter, it just creates a perception that littering is acceptable; and as a result, more litter.”

Sunderland Central Labour MP Julie Elliott also took part in Saturday morning’s clean-up. In her bid to keep the city clean she too carries her litter around until a suitable litter bin is available and has reinforced that people need to be educated about not dropping litter in public locations.

“Take it and put it in the bin,” she said.

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