The Aberdeenshire Litter Initiative Adopt-a-Street Scheme (ALi) currently has 610 volunteers. It is based on the ‘Adopt-a–Street’ concept from North America but without some of the formality and structure.
In the main, it consists of individual volunteers who agree to ‘adopt’ a street or open space of their own choosing and to keep it clear of litter at a frequency that suits their own level of commitment. That level of input may vary according to the need and the lifestyle of the volunteer. The scheme is not policed or monitored. In essence ALi seeks to recognise, support and encourage individuals who care enough about their local environment to be willing to do something practical about it.
ALi volunteers are primarily individual volunteers but the structure of our scheme is flexible enough to support participation from other groups of people (Scouts, Air Training Corps, Community Councils, horticultural groups, businesses etc.) without constraining how they want to operate. The administration of ALi is carried out under the auspices of a ‘Wasters’ sub-group of AEF comprising a number of former local authority and waste management professionals. Volunteers are offered and encouraged to wear a Hi-Viz safety vest and use a litter picking stick both funded by Aberdeenshire Council.
While the operation of the scheme is very ‘relaxed’ about most things the single issue of paramount importance is Health, Safety and Welfare. In that regard members are issued with comprehensive guidance which includes advice on what to do if they come across items outwith their remit or capabilities. We do not have insurance cover and all Volunteers must sign a declaration absolving ALi and its organisers from any liabilities arising from their participation in the scheme.
The ALi scheme is not designed to replace any of the functions and responsibilities of the Council as a ‘Duty Body’ in terms of the legislation. Our volunteers are unsupervised and do as much or as little as fits with their lifestyle. Many pick litter every day and other only do it occasionally or when required. We use the slogan do a little – change a lot
NO Formal or structured evaluation has been conducted.
AEF has a website www.green-butterfly.org.uk where our forms and guidance are displayed along with some background information. Most of our volunteers are happy to do their bit in keeping their own patch clear of litter but do not want to be an active part of group activities.
We have a page on Facebook called Friends of Ali https://www.facebook.com/groups/47510797273/ where members and supporters can contribute to the debate and discussions around litter and littering.
It requires funding for equipment and dedicated people to manage the programme and provide feedback to volunteers