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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Volunteers plan to bring back public toilets

PUBLIC toilets could be making a welcome return to Whitehaven town centre.

By Lucy Grosvenor

The newly-formed Copeland Action Group (CAG) is to meet the Harbour Commissioners next week to discuss installing portable toilets on the harbourside, or re-opening the loos in the multi-storey car park.

Lee Butterworth set up CAG via Facebook last week to bring about improvements to the area. The group has been inundated with offers of support and equipment from businesses and volunteers with a view to opening and maintaining a public toilet.

Lee, from Woodend, near Egremont, said: “The lack of toilets is a major concern for the public, and it is something we are keen to address.”

He added he became “so sick of the negativity and council-bashing” he decided to take action.

Lee said: “It is a difficult time for the council. Cuts have to be made to services but instead of moaning we can all help out and give back to our towns.”

Copeland Council closed the James Street toilets in April last year due to budget cuts. The building was demolished in March.

Mr Butterworth’s plans would not involve using Copeland Council funding.

In just over a week, CAG has gained nearly 4,000 Facebook members and members have been out in force. Already they have cleaned up the Hensingham/Moresby Parks roundabout, tidied up around Mirehouse, helped give Bransty a spring clean and weeded St Nicholas’ Gardens.

With growing support on Facebook, CAG took to the streets to clean up the roundabout near the old fish factory at Moresby.

With the grass overgrown and becoming dangerous, Lee decided it would be a good place to start and benefit so many people.

Lee, the owner of Xtreme Fitness at Lillyhall, said: “It was great. Within 24 hours we had organised seven people with two garden Strimmers to go and give the grass a cut and wash down the signs.

“Jewson donated some tools and buckets, Bin Boutique helped remove the graffiti and CleansePro helped with the cutting. People were tooting and waving as they drove past and we even got given some Mars bars and water to help us keep going!”

The group wants as many people in Copeland to get involved, even if it is just something little as taking the time to wash a street sign.

Lee said: “People want to help and be involved in their community. I can’t believe people’s support, positivity is infectious.”

The clean-up at St Nicholas’ saw more than 30 children and older volunteers giving up an hour to weed the area.

Rob Huck was doing his bit in the flower beds. The teacher at The Whitehaven Academy said: “This is a fantastic initiative. A strong sense of community is really important and it is great to see people of all ages getting involved making the area a better place to live.

“If everyone gives one hour of their time and you have 50 volunteers then that will make a massive difference.”

Emma-Jayne Gooch, from New Exec Consulting, gave up her lunch hour with her friend Lisa Stanger to tidy up the gardens.

Emma-Jayne said: “I think Lee is doing a great job. People need to stop being so negative and he’s done an amazing job getting people on side to help.”

Lee said: “I love the fact everyone wants to do their bit, after all this is our town and we should be looking after it.”

He added that now the referendum has gone through for an elected mayor, he would consider standing but “wouldn’t want to get bogged down in the politics”.

Orgill play park in Egremont is the next tidy-up place for the Copeland Action Group and members will be meeting there on Sunday, June 8 at 10am.

To join the group, search for ‘Copeland Action Group’ on Facebook.

Have your say

Visited Whitehaven last week and I will not be going there again. Just wanted to stroll around the town, but I object to walking miles to use Tesco or Morrisons to use the loo. How much has been lost because of the lack of tourists?

Posted by David Cripps on 8 July 2014 at 16:49

Well said Lee you are an inspiration to us all mate

Posted by Thankful on 23 June 2014 at 18:52

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