Barrows for Birmingham’s cleaner, greener streets effort

Published: Monday, 10th June 2019

Community groups and those with a passion for cleaner, greener streets are being invited to utilise equipment available on a fleet of 75 street cleaning barrows that have been bought by the council.

Currently, community clean-ups happen across the city thanks to the efforts of dedicated citizens and organised groups, supported by the council in a number of key ways:

  • The waste prevention team provide litter pickers and high-visibility Jackets to individuals and communities wishing to undertake clean ups and the waste management service pick up the waste collected;
  • The Parks and Nature Conservation team hold regular training and support to communities and volunteers and operate a highly successful environmental training and volunteer support programme;
  • The waste management service actively supports the annual Great British Spring Clean initiative. In 2019, volunteers held 106 events and collected over 100 tonnes of litter.

But thanks to a £194,000 grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the council has identified the opportunity to develop and launch a new, single community offer – with the supply of a street cleansing barrow to each of the 69 council wards as the centrepiece of the scheme.

Each of the barrows will include a range of tools and equipment including loppers, rakes, graffiti kits, litter pickers, trowels, spades, brooms, hoes, shears, first aid kits, saws and high-visibility clothing.

The equipment on the barrows will be distributed following an expression of interest process, in which co-operation between local groups will be encouraged to maximise their use. Once issued, the equipment will be held by community groups rather than the council. It has also been identified areas may require two barrows if they have active Business Improvement Districts.

A full programme of training is also being offered to those who take part to ensure safety and to maximise the effectiveness of the equipment’s use.

Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, said: “I will never lose sight of the fact that the council has its part to play in meeting the top priority for citizens – clean streets. We’ve still got lots to do, but there is an individual responsibility for everyone who lives in Birmingham to play their part too.

“We know there is an amazing amount of work done by individual citizens and community groups with a shared passion for clean streets.

“I am incredibly grateful for their efforts and hope this project helps them continue their contribution to a better environment for all.

“It’s not just about the council and it isn’t solely down to residents. We have to work together to achieve our shared aim.”

This new community offer was launched at a community recognition event on Saturday (June 8), to coincide with the arrival of ‘Floella’s Future’ - Birmingham City Council’s gold-winning Chelsea Flower Show display in the city.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, who worked with the city on its award-winning display bearing her name, said: “I am really excited by this initiative which will inspire community groups to get together and make Birmingham’s streets super clean.

“Untidy and littered surroundings have a negative effect on mental wellbeing and this is especially true for children as they grow up in a world threatened by pollution and climate change. So let’s make their streets clean and tidy as part of my ‘Floella’s Future’ vision.”

To find out more, or express an interest in gaining access to the new resources, e-mail:

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