John’s new role to help around town

John Clavering, Whitley Bays first caretaker.

John Clavering, Whitley Bays first caretaker.

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A new face is helping improve the look and feel of Whitley Bay.

Local resident John Clavering has been appointed as the town’s first ‘caretaker’ by Whitley Bay Big Local.

He will help to improve the appearance of the area and build on the sense of community pride within the Big Local streets and encourage others to get involved too.

The six-month pilot project aims to tackle jobs that people believe belong to someone else and will include activities such as small scale weeding and litter picking whilst helping less able community members to tackle jobs around the outside of their homes.

John said: “All too often people are unhappy about the way things look but feel unable or sometimes unwilling to do anything about it themselves.

“I am hoping to encourage and empower residents to make a difference to the streets where they live and help them to get some of the small jobs done that currently fall by the wayside.

“The role doesn’t come with a fixed list of tasks but I am looking to liaise directly with the local community and Big Local volunteers in order to map out the jobs that are needed to be done and hope it won’t take long for more people to see a little effort can make a huge difference.”

One of John’s first priorities will be to focus on the planters adopted by Whitley Bay Big Local in the town centre and he will be looking to support from local residents and businesses to ensure their ongoing long term maintenance.

John is also hoping to work closely with residents in streets identified as needing some extra attention to undertake jobs which will improve their appearance.

He added: “I’m hoping that I will be able to demonstrate just how quickly and easily we can improve the look and feel of a small area with just a little extra effort.”

Jess Burns, chair of Whitley Bay Big Local, added: “John’s role provides us with an opportunity to make a real difference at a very local level and build on some of the fantastic efforts already made by members of the community.

“We are hoping that John will work closely with the community to empower residents and local businesses to make a difference to the streets where they live and work.

“We hope John will help to get the small jobs done that currently fall to nobody whilst also supporting some of our less able members of the community to undertake small DIY projects such as fixing broken garden gates or cutting back overhanging bushes that block the pavements.

“Whilst we know the caretaker alone cannot improve the appearance of the town, John will undoubtedly make a visual impression and will be able to act as a conduit between residents and the local authority to ensure that people’s voice continue to be heard.”

John will be organising drop in events at Olives at The Station on October 13 and 20 between 10am and 11am in order to get to know local people and identify their priority areas.

To find out more about the caretaker role, make suggestions or get involved please contact john.bay.biglocal@gmail.com