Campaigners battling to make their local coastlines, towns and cities a cleaner, safer place are being urged to join a growing Regional Rep programme, aimed at uniting communities to effect real environmental change.
National charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) originally launched the Regional Rep initiative in a bid to create cleaner, sewage-free coastlines back in 2010 – but the movement has since grown to tackle the issues surrounding single-use plastic waste, too.
Today, the programme is made up of 181 trained and equipped reps across the UK, who have engaged 21.5k local volunteers and already cleaned 440 beaches this year alone.
Now, thanks to the new expansion project, SAS is hoping to recruit more volunteers into the Rep roles than ever before – with a particular focus on areas including:
Inner City Areas – Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Loughborough,
NW Stretch of England (Cumbria to Scottish Border),
Isle of Man
Described as the ‘driving force’ of SAS, the Rep programme has been instrumental to the charity’s work – including in the delivery of 55,000 signatures to No.10 in 2013, leading to the formation of the POW All-Party Parliamentary Group, as well as being responsible for writing 165 letters to their various MPs calling for a Deposit Return Scheme to be implemented UK-wide.
They have also been vital in leading their communities towards Plastic Free Approved Status via Plastic Free Coastlines, Plastic Free Schools and, more recently, challenging their MPs via Plastic Free Parliament.
So far in 2019, the team has already engaged 14.5k local school children, alongside the 175 Plastic-Free Communities (with 23 new sign ups this year) and removed 36,000 kg of plastic pollution from natural environment.
But those running say the scheme say volunteers will get back as much as they put in, too – from being able to grasp huge networking opportunities (both locally and internationally), to learning how to organise events, manage a team of volunteers and receive training from marine experts – every part of the role lends itself to CV-boosting gold.
Craig Holmes, SAS Community Administrator and former NI Regional Rep, said:
“Becoming a Regional Rep has opened an unimaginable amount of doors for me in such a short space of time.
“The engagement with local volunteers, schools and Plastic Free Communities makes it one of the most rewarding and exciting roles out there.
“I would recommend becoming a Rep to any and everyone from all walks of life – the training, support and family-feel that comes along with everything is second to none!”
Whether it’s about inspiring individuals in the community to lead beach cleans, conducting educational talks, connecting with local councils and local MPs, highlighting regional issues and promoting SAS’s national campaigns and initiatives, the Rep’s role is based on engaging, motivating and empowering communities to do more and, in their own words, fight the good fight.
Have a look at our team of Regional Reps on our website here.
Copy written by Hazel Murray.