Pembrokeshire County Council’s new Visitor Welcome Teams have forged a wonderful partnership with a newly formed group of community Eco Champions on the beaches of Whitesands, with Newgale hopefully to follow soon.
Peninsula Beach Stewards is a volunteer-led initiative organised by EcoDewi along with local St Davids Peninsula residents.
Coordinated by Jeremy Wadia, Samantha Minas and Becky Lloyd, their team of community volunteers will be found along the northern coastline this summer collecting litter from the beach and car parks, and reminding locals and holidaymakers to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.
The EcoDewi group, who have been supported by Surfers Against Sewage and The Pembrokeshire Eco Champion Project, have already received substantial interest from other groups in coastal communities looking to replicate the idea in their local area.
Samantha, who came up with the initial idea, said: “Having spent 15 years recruiting and managing stewards at Glastonbury Festival, I knew what could be achieved through collective voluntary action and felt it could be a possible solution for keeping our beaches clean this summer, especially as lockdown eases and visitors rush to be outdoors.
“With the support of Jeremy at EcoDewi and Becky who works non-stop in local community development, we’ve managed to get this project live in just over a week!”
The project has been a great example of successful community collaboration between local residents, businesses, the public sector and third sector organisations.
Eco Champion Coordinator Mark Bond said: “One of the legacies of these strange times is that many local communities are far more mobilised and showing increased pride in their local area.
“It’s no surprise that fewer options in terms of pubs and restaurants have led to increased eating and drinking on our beaches, which is bound to see higher levels of rubbish around the coastline.
“This fantastic initiative will go a long way to complementing the great work of our Visitor Welcome Teams and will ensure our beaches remain happy, clean, safe places to return to. I’m very proud to be associated with this venture”.
Estelle Jakubowski, the peninsula’s new Surfers Against Sewage regional rep, commented: “'Peninsula Beach Stewards is an exciting new initiative, in line with our aims at Surfers Against Sewage. It's very inspiring to see Eco Dewi building a local community to make people aware of the need to protect the ocean and marine life.'
Gary Nicholas, Pembrokeshire Leisure Services Manager said: “We’re really pleased to see the effort that the local community has made in creating the Peninsula Beach Stewards and we hope that alongside the visitor welcome teams that we can contribute in keeping Whitesands in the condition that we all enjoy and are proud of.”
Cllr Cris Tomos, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Public Protection and Welsh Language, said: “It’s great to see our local communities taking action to protect the natural environment.
“The Covid-19 situation has seen many of us spending more time at or close to home and getting a renewed sense of pride of where we live and a desire to take responsibility to keep it as clean and tidy as possible.
“The Peninsula Beach Stewards is a fantastic initiative and fits perfectly alongside the work of our Visitor Welcome Teams.”
Eco Dewi are still looking for more volunteers to support this effort and to increase the Beach Steward offering to more beaches on the Peninsula. Anyone with a few hours to spare is urged to contact them via their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/peninsulabeachstewards2020 or email email@example.com
Pictured are Jeremy, Samantha and Becky from EcoDewi, Estelle from Surfers Against Sewage, Bryony and Liz from PCC’s Welcome Ambassador team and Mark Bond, Pembrokeshire Eco Champion Project Coordinator.