A COMMUNITY is helping make their area look spick and span following a clean-up of the streets.
Schools, businesses and residents have joined up with North Tyneside Council’s Big Spring Clean environment campaign for a community event in the Longbenton area, which runs until Friday.
As part of the initiative, council officials – together with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police – hosted Operation Hotspot, which aims to reduce litter, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.
The initiative started with an all-day event at the Oxford Centre, in West Farm Avenue, with officials on hand all day to talk to people about the initiative and discuss any concerns.
Killingworth Neighbourhood Inspector John Smith said: “We have had some anti-social behaviour issues with fires being started and items dumped around the estate.
“This partnership event with the local authority and fire and rescue service will help improve how this estate looks and make a real difference to the confidence of the local community.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service gave free home safety checks.
Station Manager Graeme Hurst, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Rubbish build-up can often be a target for deliberate fire setting and something that may seem like a small rubbish fire could spread to neighbouring property and put people’s lives in danger, with devastating consequences.
“Attending deliberate fires also puts extra pressure on our busy crews who, whilst they are dealing with these, are not as readily available to attend other more potentially life threatening incidents such as someone trapped in a house fire or in a road traffic accident.
“By working with our partners in Operation Hotspot, and with the local community, we aim to reduce the risk of fire and make the community a safer place to be.”
Pupils from Longbenton Community College carried out a litter pick before the council’s environmental mascot, Waldo the Wonderdog, helped children from Balliol Primary School collect rubbish.
The council’s sports development team, in partnership with youth groups in the area, will be running a mixture of sports on Friday.
This is part of a 12-week pilot to provide activities for young people in Longbenton.
The activities start at 5.30pm to 7pm at the park next to the Oxford Centre and will run until June.
Mayor Linda Arkley said: “I am pleased the Big Spring Clean will be helping the residents of Longbenton make a difference to where they live.
“We are working closely with the police and the fire and rescue service on a number of initiatives in the area, which support the council’s aim to improve this part of the borough.”