VOLUNTEERS and businesses are joining forces in a new effort to rejuvenate Shaw Village Centre and save it from being paved over.

Residents have been collecting litter on a regular basis, but are now appealing for businesses in the area to lend their support to the operation to beautify the scene.

Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacy are on board ahead of two organised sessions planned for September 13 and November 8, but more hands are needed.

Gail Light, locality facilitator for West Swindon, has been helping co-ordinate the project.

“The residents association have been keeping the place as tidy as they can with regular litter picking and gardening, and they have had some grants from the council for new plants, but the weeds are winning,” she said.

“It gives a horrible look to the centre. They need more support through the community and with the proprietors of businesses locally to come up with a plan to do something about it.”

Ilyas Piperdy, of Lloyds Pharmacy, has agreed to help.

“It’s a great idea because generally we want to keep the area tidy and make it as presentable as possible,” he said.

“That also helps to make our shop more attractive for people to come to. That will bring in more customers for all the shops in the area and be beneficial for everyone. We are pushing this idea to our customers with advertising and word of mouth, so when we hand out medication we can let them know about this scheme and help them find volunteers.”

Alan Iles, manager of Tesco in the centre, said: “Litter has always been a problem and they have been doing a great job so far collecting it up, but they need more hands.

“I will do what I can to help, and I am personally going to get out there and help with the weeding. If they need extra litter picking we can organise something.”

Kevin Fisher, chairman of the Shaw Residents Association, said there was a danger of the centre turning into a slab of concrete unless more was done.

“We have been litter picking and have had a fair turnoutbut since we took on some of the gardening it has becomemore labour intensive,” he said.

“The alternative is for the council to block-pave everything and we are very much against tha . We are very keen for all the local businesses to be involved because if the area looks nicer it will benefit all the businesses. We need to create a bit of pride in the centre.”

  • To get involved, meet at the Shaw Village Inn at 10.30am on September 13 or November 8. Call Gail on 07940 633430.