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Proud pupils keeping neighbourhood spruce

These enthusiastic youngsters have already been working hard to keep their school grounds clean — and are about to cast their net wider.

The pupils at Holywood Primary School run regular litter patrols, collecting discarded bottles, cans and sweet wrappers but are now turning their attention to beyond the school gates as part of the Big Spring Clean.

The school’s Eco Club was launched after a push to improve the school grounds around 18 months ago, which resulted in a new garden and play area. The eco club members meet once a week to scour the school grounds and collect any litter that has been discarded.

Eco Club co-ordinator Jennifer Wallace says the concept has now been extended to involve the whole school.

“We do the litter lifts but we make the school more aware that it as a whole is responsible for dealing with litter,” she said. “If the pupils see litter, they are now more willing to lift it rather than kicking it under a bush.

“We’ve extended the litter lift and now have the different classes doing it in rotation. We try to encourage the children so that they don’t throw litter down in the first place and if they do see litter they pick it up.”

Acting principal Debbie Crookshanks said the school is now looking beyond the gates to set up links in the local community. One way may be to talk to a number of past pupils who discard litter out of hours.

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She has been keeping an eye out for sites that could be suitable for a Big Spring Clean.

“We’ve had a look around and there are car parks in Holywood — they’re not awful and I’m not blaming anybody but that is where the nooks and crannies where the litter gathers are,” she said.

“This is not just pride in our school: it’s pride in our town as well.”