A NEW social media group has been launched in a bid to unite environmental volunteers cleaning up the district’s streets and got more people involved.

Each year an army of Green Heart Champions walk miles around Braintree district, collecting sacks full of discarded drinks cans, fly away crisp packets and stubbed out cigarette butts.

There are more than 400 champions registered with Braintree Council either as individuals, families or community groups.

The council say the champions work together to keep their neighbourhoods clean and instil pride within their communities.

Braintree Council has launched a new Facebook group exclusively for the Green Heart Champions and since formed the council say volunteers have been further inspired to help clean up streets, playgrounds and beauty spots.

One member said: “Like most people, I hate to see litter when out walking, so I decided to combine the two.

“In Rayne, we are lucky to have several people who think the same.

“When out picking, people will often stop me for a quick chat and it’s particularly heartening when a youngster comes over with a sweet wrapper or similar to put in the sack.

“I encourage others to try their hand at litter picking. Being part of this group has helped me to make it more of a regular commitment.”

Now Braintree Council is calling on more residents to join them, helping to make the district a cleaner place to live, work and visit.

Green Heart Champion volunteers are given guidance on how to stay safe as they carry out their role, as well as being provided with litter picking equipment including high-vis jackets, litter pickers, sacks and safety gloves.

Wendy Schmitt, Braintree Council’s climate change and environment boss, said: “We are extremely grateful to each and every one of our Green Heart Champions.

“All of us have a collective responsibility to look after our environment and clean up after ourselves, but our volunteers go one step further and pick up after other people who just simply can’t be bothered to do it themselves.

“Thank you to those who really do care about our environment and shame on those who don’t.”