Tuesday, 21 April 2015

FRED and MCS Big Beach Clean Up UPDATED

Dear friends,

Join us for a morning and/or afternoon of practical conservation tasks at Coatham Marsh nature reserve followed by a beach clean around TunedIn.

FRED and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust have teamed up with forester volunteers to tidy up the entrance to the reserve, paint signs and put up a new fence.

After lunch we will carry out a beach clean and survey of litter as part of the Marine Conservation Society National Event. https://www.mcsuk.org/ Bags of litter collected will be counted and weighed to provide measurable results.

By joining in this weekend you are contributing to a national and global survey as well as meeting other local people who want to help keep their environment and beaches clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

Join us!

Order of the day

COATHAM MARSHES - Warrenby entrance

Meeting and Refreshments – 10:00 – 10:30

10:30 – 12:00 – Clearing and tidying car park area, this will involve the following; erecting new timber boards along existing car park fence, cutting back large sections of bramble and scrub, painting existing metal art structures near the entrance and litter picking. Volunteers will be assigned an activity appropriate to ability, age etc.

12:00 – 13:00 – All members will travel to Tuned In! For lunch


13:15 – 15:30 - Volunteers will be joined by local Friends Groups to help gather litter and fill out the MSC survey, in order to contribute to the national beach clean study.

15:30 – 16:00 – All bags and survey results are gathered together.

Here's our blog from April!

Thank you all for your efforts this morning (10th May 2015) to collect and log the variety of litter and waste items on our beach in Redcar. There was around 30 volunteers who turned out and collected over 30 bags of rubbish in groups of 3 or 4. Charting the items it was clear that there were many dog poo bags collected around Majuba near the dunes and the other 'usual suspect' was cotton bud sticks. Lots of plastic, glass and cans were also found around the dunes. 

The catalogued items will be collated along with the other national events to provide evidence of the problems that exist on our beaches. This will hopefully generate solutions to tackle the problems.

Thank you all very much and a special thank you to Paul Kitchener of Peak Image for coming along and photographing the event. 

These guys (along with Tricia Darley below) have been with us from our very beginning. Thank you so much Tracy, Jean, June, Laura, Gail, Christopher and Emma. Unsung heroes we salute you. They love litter picking especially in November :)
Tricia Darley 

Still a lot of work required on the dunes which will require the support of RCBC. It has to change and become safe and clean if we are going to be a viable destination for beach goers.

Logging items found - "One sock - black, 15 dog poo bags, 74 cotton bud sticks, 12 coke cans, one pair of underpants - purple paisley."

Councillor Alec Brown and the "ankle biter"

Thank you so much -  Another great effort to lift our home. We have a fantastic community in Redcar. Come and join us friendsofredcar@gmail.com and make some new friends. 

For more photos click here:

FRED at Majuba car park on Sunday the 10th May 2015 at 10:30a.m took part in the annual "Big Beach Clean Up" from the Marine Conservation Society.

This is a national event sponsored by Marks & Spencer's that year on year sees thousands of volunteers on hundreds of beaches around Great Britain. 

So be part of this national event and join us to help keep Redcar beach looking it's  best.

More information can be found here:

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Needles and niggles in Redcar

Over the past month I have personally recovered eight needles beach side in Redcar. This, where we take our children to play and run barefoot. I'm hearing a lot of sightings of needles in alleys, shelters and doorways right along the high street and seafront. Many users are conscientious, educated and responsible enough to dispose sensibly, however this obviously isn't the case with many others. How do we tackle this?

Lifeline www.lifeline.org.uk/about/ is a charity doing valuable work to assist and support users "We work with individuals, families and communities both to prevent and reduce harm, to promote recovery, and to challenge the inequalities linked to alcohol and drug misuse’.

We respect Lifeline and admire their work however the unit in Redcar is wholly in the wrong location as the majority of users reside in the west of Redcar not the east. This means we are encouraging the behaviour we are experiencing and the evidence is undeniable. Relocate Lifeline nearer to those who require their services and I'm sure we will see a dramatic decline in abandoned needles.

Aside from this the anti social element in and around our town is on the increase. Attempted break ins, impromptu fires, public drinking, vandalism, neighbourhood issues and I've hardly even begun. People are sitting amongst rubbish. Dog fouling anywhere in our open spaces is common place and when you look around at each other, you may believe you're on your own in your concern with all these factors. You aren't. People are resilient and often don't like to make a fuss.

We are dogged by Network Rail's negligence over a seemingly easy level crossing fix, gas works dug up on our main streets during a national holiday and a neighbourhood department not cleaning the beach or emptying bins from the night before. They aren't sending staff out until 7am and therefore limit their cleaning times.

The issues mentioned are not impossible to solve. They can be managed but there has to be a willingness to do so on all levels within the council, police and community. We need decision makers to work together on a strategic long and short term plan. 

This is not happening and that's why things are breaking down and steadily getting worse. For all the noise we make at FRED to get cogs rolling, the machine stops when we (all of us residents) don't complain. I know that this has been said at management level in the council. If we don't complain they will save on their budget by cutting hours and services.

Currently within the council we have managers off at the same time whereas staff cannot be, long term sick with no interim replacement, officers covering different departments and overworked, confusion over who takes responsibility of certain issues and a depleted ground force and services following the 53% cut in government funding during this administration. We desperately need an MP and administration who can deliver better central funding to Redcar so we can replenish our internal structure and grow.

Our community groups are amazing and together with dog walkers can work with the authorities to be the eyes and ears and idea creators for this town. These doors need to be flung wide open.

In the meantime though... Here's your opportunity to share my frustration. Click the link and save the page to your browser. Use it and use it often. Complaining is good. Never be afraid to do so. Complaining shows you care. Thank you.


Sunday, 5 April 2015

FRED at Easter and why our Redcar beach is failing

A sunny Halo over just some of our volunteers today. Bless these guys! 😇

What a glorious Easter Sunday morning and many of our volunteers, old and new, were regretting bringing their coats. The sun shone throughout the duration of our collective effort.

After meeting at TunedIn we started beach side at the end of Majuba car park.

Following the churning up of sand by Redcar council to reduce the sand drift along the sea defence wall at Majuba, we found lots of historic little bits and pieces, such as bottle caps, glass, string, aside from the usual sanitary, applicators, cotton bud sticks and dog poo bags. 

These small pieces slowed our progress for a good hour because there was (and still is) so much of it, but once we got to TunedIn we flowed a lot more freely toward the Regent Cinema. 

Thank you to all our 30+ volunteers, old and new who collected over 50+ bags  (and to Olly coming from Saltburn and Doug who bussed it in from Middlesbrough, showing great dedication to help us in Redcar). Thanks everyone. You are FRED.

Easter holidays - FRED on the beach, many people walk the Esplanade but where are the families using this end of the beach? 

Sticking Point

It is only too obvious that our beach from Majuba to the Beacon and from Zetland Lifeboat Museum to the Stray is still not seen as important by our authorities. 

This most certainly is the seaside but it appears there is no focus on it being one, either side the commercial area. Families don't seem to use the beach here to play. Why? Read on.

The seafront is the main thing that Redcar offers visitors. Until the beach is trusted we'll always have a scant amount of overnight visitors staying in our guest houses. 

As a town struggling to thrive by attracting trade and new business, we must think - beach - seaside - activities - events and to kick all that off by engaging in a big industrial beach clean up that opens the beach right up. FRED only wishes it had the equipment as we'd do it ourselves.

This is Easter and the beach either side of the commercial part is largely unsafe for our children to play on because of the broken glass and masonry. Do you dare let your kids run around these parts barefooted?

When the council churned up the sand in Majuba on the 25th February (41 days ago) they left huge mounds. This was a one man operation in a digger with no immediate follow up work. Any subsequent work has been wholly inadequate.

 25th February 2015 

Surely when they dug up Majuba, they then needed to trawl the beach, with a small team over three or four days and only when the beachcomber was in service. 

Not to rake/comb it and leave it as an unusable mess since February is, in my opinion, careless and thoughtless. I'm assured it'll get sorted in the coming weeks but feel this reply is far too ambiguous. There is no Summer season pressure in Redcar.

To my mind the beachcomber should be out a few times a week leading up to Easter and throughout the Summer - EVERY YEAR. Why isn't this a set procedure? Why do other coastal towns get it right and we don't? It's not like this isn't discussed - it is.

Once this happens and the beach is clear of years of historic building materials, litter, broken glass, fishermen ropes, dog fouling and tidal drift, then perhaps Redcar may become the trusted visitor destination, with activities and events that most residents would want to see.

Soon we'll also be plagued by kelp that usually lands annually but this will not always be raked until the complaint is made. So here's one in advance because we know it's coming. Please RCBC clear our beach of kelp when it arrives this year.

Aside from our litter pick activity today it was noteworthy brick and rubble was visible for long stretches, so it will be necessary for FRED to do a rubble collection along here sometime. 

The entranceway to Majuba beach is broken down and masonry is being scattered onto the beach here too 

Carrying our litter bags up over the sea defence wall became tiring and myself, visitors and residents have queried why there aren't more access points to encourage people onto the beach.

There are only two entrances to get on the beach here (one the end of Majuba and one beyond TunedIn). One is broken and both covered in sand. Elderly and young alike struggle on and off the beach using these steps or by climbing the walls. 

This next part isn't an attack on all dog walkers because I know many and all those I know are conscientious and thoughtful - but an observation of today. 

Many dog walkers were on the beach and lots of dog poo and dog poo bags were also on the beach. Many were visible and removed by us especially near to the dunes where kids are playing.

There's no instruction, no signage, no dog bins 'beachside' to encourage a community dog walking route and many dogs run freely off their leads. Some dogs charge about, one towards people and children who don't have a dog and are clearly fearful, some bark at other dogs, two dogs attack each other and one deficated near our group. 

What to do? Anything?