Tidy-up puts pride back into community

This Is Wiltshire: Members of the community cleaning up Old Town and planting flowers in April. Buy this photo » Members of the community cleaning up Old Town and planting flowers in April.

PRIDE in the appearance of the community is at the heart of a drive among residents and businesses to keep their streets clean and their flowers thriving.

The Autumn Tidy & Planting around Old Town has been scheduled for September 29 by the Pipers Area Residents’ Associa-tion (PARA), with support from various organisations and businesses also based in the neighbourhood.

The event follows a clean-up operation put in place by PARA on April 28, when 75 volunteers got involved with planting flower beds, cutting back overgrown hedges and clearing rubbish from the area.

This initial boost in interest and effort has instilled pride in the community which has drawn an increasing number of businesses, who support PARA and their volunteers.

With support from the Old Town Business & Professional Association, Swindon Commer-cial Services , Swindon Council and The Co-operative, volunteers will meet outside Tony Knowles interior design shop at 2pm.

From there, the troop will work their way down Newport Street, working on flower beds, before moving around to Signal Way, where 2000 daffodil bulbs, provided by Swindon Council, will be planted.

There is £500 available to fund any work done on September 29, which is left over from the £1,200 raised by the group for the project in April.

Kareen Boyd, deputy chair of PARA, said: “We would welcome people to come along and help out. We would love to see a large group after 75 last time.

“It was really good fun in April. It has a real visible effect and improves the area.

“We want to continue this work and maintain the beds in all their glory, so we have to keep up with the seasons and put new plants in.”

Also on the day, there are plans for a plant and produce sale, with money raised to go towards PARA and keeping the group going.

Coun Nadine Watts (Lab, Old Town) got involved with Spring’s effort, and continues to stand by the ethos behind this month’s clean-up.

“It’s a brilliant community activity and a really good way for local residents to work with council employees, SCS and local businesses,” she said.

“It shows the pride we have in the area we live. “The efforts these volunteers go to rub off on the rest of the community because they know people care.

“There was graffiti on the side wall of Barclays (in the High Street) and within a week of it being reported by a member of the community, it was cleaned off. That shows how responsible they are for their area of the community.”

A spokesperson for the Old Town Association said: “We continue to be very supportive of this cause. “The previous time this event ran it was very successful, which is why we have made another donation on this occasion.

“Things have certainly improved since PARA began taking an interest in how our streets look.”

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