Hardworking volunteers have collected 2,787 bags of litter as part of a drive to keep communities clean - with locals also urged to get involved in another tidy up. 

After many reports of people dumping rubbish illegally, the group took things into their own hands, pledging to collect a huge amount of rubbish for the Great British Spring Clean, which ran from March 15 to 31.

Karen Liptrot, a frontrunner for Highfield and New Bury Litter Pickers and Community Group, helped to lead the efforts.

The Bolton News: Karen LiptrotKaren Liptrot (Image: Supplied)

She said: "I have lived here for 45 years, I was born and brought up in Farnworth.

"I don't remember litter being such a problem years ago."

“I work very closely with Eileen Crowe (who heads up the Northern part of Bolton with her group and is a Keep Britain Tidy ambassador).

“Each week we plan litter picks which involve volunteers from across the borough.

"We meet on a Sunday, and we clean up different areas every week.

The Bolton News: Rubbish collected as part of the Great British Spring CleanRubbish collected as part of the Great British Spring Clean (Image: Supplied)

“With regards to the Great British Spring Clean, this was an event that myself and Eileen were keen to get off the ground this year and make a really big thing within the town.

“So as the ambassador for Bolton, she pledged 3,000 bags to be filled by volunteers within the two-week period and we really pushed for that.

"Volunteers were going out that bit extra, to meet this target.

“We were doing extra, route picks that we were advertising on, the Bolton Borough Facebook group.

"We did one on Good Friday up in Breightmet and volunteers were sending their reported bag numbers into myself and Eileen throughout the two weeks to keep a tally of the numbers.

“We have many silent speakers within the borough that will just go out on their own litter picking and cleaning up so, their bags won't have been reported to me or Eileen. I think that we'll be well over the 3000 bags pledged.”

Both Karen and Eileen started the Facebook group "Bolton Borough Litter Pickers" last month and have been organising litter picks across the borough with hundreds of people picking up a bin bag and getting involved.

The Bolton News: Litter pickers, including Eileen Crowe, carrying out their workLitter pickers, including Eileen Crowe, carrying out their work (Image: Supplied)

Eileen said: “I started a group nine years ago now called The Egerton Litter Pickers.

"We cleaned the area up within about four weeks.

“We did the grot spots, and then covered Halliwell and Smithills.

"We did them and we helped them to get set up and then Farnworth, Kearsley and Horwich as well as all the other groups.

“We helped set them up and now we all nurture each other and support each other so that we can continue. Collectively, the people of Bolton all want a clean town, and we try to be incredibly positive doing so.”

The Bolton News: Some of the rubbish collectedSome of the rubbish collected (Image: Supplied)

Littering and fly-tipping have been a long-term problem in Bolton with figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showing 5,883 fly-tipping incidents in Bolton in the year up to March 2023.

Eileen has fired a message to residents regarding the problem.

She said: "People shouldn't drop litter and should take it home if they can't find a bin."

She added: “Fly-tipping sounds like such a rubbish thing to do. But, when you actually go out and you start doing it, you realise that the community is there.

"It's a brilliant community in Bolton and people are so generous with their time.

“We're one big community working to make the borough the best it can be.”

One resident who has seen the difference the litter-pickers have made, said: "Eileen and all the area leaders have worked hard making the 17 days (of the Great British Spring Clean) a success to create a better place for all the people of Bolton.

“Everyone at Keep Darwen Tidy is proud of the effort the volunteers have made and want to say a massive Thank you!”

Meanwhile, Love Bolton Hate Litter is calling for volunteers to help with its Big Spring Clean.

The scheme is part of the council and is growing rapidly. It runs all year round and is funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Funded.

This year’s campaign is working with schools and young people in particular to encourage young people to value their environment.

The Big Spring Clean runs until Monday, April 8 and is organised by Love Bolton Hate Litter, which provides support to volunteers of all ages and abilities across Bolton.

It has litter picking equipment to loan, organises bags of litter to be collected after events, advises on safety and can help publicise local cleanup events.

Council volunteer coordinator Gareth Pike said: “It is true that every little helps and with more and more people doing their bit, we are seeing a massive positive shift in mentality towards volunteerism and clean-ups in the community.

“Volunteering at litter picking events not only helps to keep your neighbourhood clean, green and tidy, it also promotes physical and mental wellbeing.

“Bolton’s Big Spring Clean is a fantastic opportunity to get involved, do your bit for the local community and feel good about it.”

The Bolton News: Council volunteer coordinator Gareth PikeCouncil volunteer coordinator Gareth Pike (Image: Bolton Council)

To join Bolton’s Big Spring Clean, contact Gareth on loveboltonhatelitter@bolton.gov.uk or visit Love Bolton Hate Litter on Facebook.

Around 1,500 people already volunteer with clean-up and environmental groups in Bolton, helping to keep neighbourhoods clean and tidy.

People interested in joining litter groups can do so on their Facebook pages.