Plumstead residents might have noticed their streets are looking better than in previous years, thanks in large part to The I Love My Hood – Plumstead initiative. Started earlier this year, the initiative sees community members pick up litter during a monthly group walk. However, organiser Clinton Forlee says the initiative is about much more than just holding clean-ups.“It is about caring for our community, being more neighbourly. During our walks, we come across people who need help, be it a wall that has to be painted or a verge that requires weeding. “Chatting with people, we can identify where the needs in our community are. Through networking and community participation, we hope to facilitate support.”Forlee says the issue surrounding bin pickers is one of the main community challenges that need addressing.“A lot of people don’t want them to go through their bins because of the mess they leave behind. But they are doing a good thing, recycling material that would otherwise end up in a landfill. “It is just how it is being done that should be improved. People could put forward ideas or solutions that could be implemented to solve this problem.”The eighth I Love My Hood session was held on Saturday 21 September. Three teams covered three routes, stretching over approximately 4km, in less than an hour. “We collected seven bags of litter, and two of these were of recyclable materials during our last walk. Five bags were dropped off at Rosmead Waste Drop-Off Facility and the other two were sent to a recycling depot,” Forlee says. People’s Post first reported on the initiative (“Residents keep streets clean”) on 2 April. Since then it has received a commendation from the Plumstead Civic Association for its efforts and good work. “It is wonderful when the work done by like-minded individuals is recognised. The more people take part, the greater the area we can cover,” he says.The idea for the initiative took root whilst Forlee was on a run in his neighbourhood. Seeing so much litter strewn around, he thought something should be done about it. He shared his plan with his wife, Cardene, and colleagues at work, FinServe Property, who loved it and decided to join in. Shortly afterwards, Forlee‘s neighbours also decided to get involved. The initiative was started and the first walk was arranged.Forlee says his wish to be a role model for his two children, Hannah (5) and Adam (3), who motivated him to start the initiative. “I am working for their future. Often we expect so much from our environment but the question should be, what are we willing to give in return?”Forlee says he would love to see more youngsters with their parents get involved. “Two learners from Southfield Primary attended one of the sessions, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. They are interested in joining the next one. The former principal of Plumstead High School, Ian Jackson took part in the last session, which coincided with World Clean Up Day. “It would be great to get local schools to participate in the initiative.”At present the I Love My Hood – Plumstead’s Facebook page has 178 followers. The number of people who participate in the walks range from 10 to 20.“We have quite a few people who want to participate but who aren’t able to join us on a Saturday. They often ask if they can do it on their own time. For this reason, and to create greater awareness, we are in the process of getting I Love My Hood T-shirts printed,” says Forlee.A total of 10 sponsors have already agreed to help with the costs, but another five, at R1 000 sponsorship per company, are needed to make it happen.The next walk is scheduled to take place towards the end of October. Those who would like to join are welcome to check out the I Love My Hood Plumstead Facebook Page for further details. V For more information on the next walk, follow I Love My Hood – Plumstead on Facebook.