An environmental group in Pontardawe (Wales) has launched an initiative to keep sporting grounds and facilities clear of rubbish.
The Green Pitch Pledge is a collaborative project that was established in Swansea Valley to tackle sports ground litter. It unites local councils, and local sports clubs. The pledge was created to address a problem that their volunteers come across week in week out – litter left around sports grounds after games and training sessions.
In return for agreeing to and signing the pledge, My Green Valley, a community organisation set up to help keep the local valley ‘green, clean and beautiful’ have funded and will provide each sports ground in the local area with a Quick Pick Station. This will make it easier for local clubs to clear any litter. Kerina Lake, Co-Founder and Chair of My Green Valley said: “We’re working to educate and entrench the value of caring for our green spaces by taking responsibility for our sports pitches and enabling visitors, players and supporters who use these grounds to work together to keep where we play sports clean, green, and useable for all.”
Football, rugby, and cricket clubs are all signing the pledge, working together to ensure that multi-use local grounds are being protected, too.
The group hopes that the project will encourage and empower users of local sporting grounds to take active responsibility for ensuring that nothing is left behind and that they leave changing rooms and communal areas clean, and in a good state of repair after use.
Local legends ambassador
Three local sporting legends, Duncan Jones, Loren Dykes MBE and Gwenan Davies are all ambassadors to the project.
“It is a great initiative to ensure that playing facilities, often maintained by volunteers, are kept in a safe and clean condition so that they can be enjoyed by everyone,” says Duncan Jones
The former Ospreys and Wales international rugby player adds: “Sport in general teaches teamwork, respect, and a sense of ‘doing your bit’, however big or small that is. That’s where The Green Pitch Pledge really makes sense – it is a great initiative to ensure that playing facilities, often maintained by volunteers, are kept in a safe and clean condition so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.”
Ex-Wales defender turned football coach Loren Dykes point out that pride is all that matters. “I want each player, parent, and supporter to take pride in the facilities and grounds where we train and play football, rugby, cricket, and for everyone to see that we’re all doing our bit to keep them clean and green.”
Welsh cricketer Gwenan Davies makes a similar point. “From a very young age it was almost a tradition in Clydach that on a Saturday morning you’d be at the cricket club for 8:30am to help clean the clubhouse, sweep the changing rooms, and clear the ground before the weekend’s fixtures would commence. All for a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich.
“Now almost 15 years on and enjoying the life of a professional athlete, ‘sweeping the sheds’ is something we expect each other as teammates to do, whether you’re an international superstar or a young rookie finding their way.
“The Green Pitch Pledge is so important for our sports – not only to the youth at grassroots level, but for the adults to be reminded of how no one is too entitled to do their bit.”