Knitters join forces for waterways clean up

Published on 17 August 2015

A KNITTING group from Belgrave has joined forces with local environmentalists to celebrate the clean-up of a local waterway.

Riverside Rangers from Leicester City Council have been working with local volunteers on a project to clean up the Willow Brook – a small tributary of the River Soar which runs from Spinney Hills to Belgrave.

The work – part of the city council’s Shared Waters initiative and run in partnership with the Environment Agency – has involved litter picking and removing other debris from the brook and its banks, as well as raising awareness of the problems to prevent them from recurring.

Over 90 bags’ worth of litter have been cleared from the brook and its banks in the last three months.

Now, local knitting group the Belgrave Knitters have lent their expertise to the scheme, by creating knitted fish, eels, flowers and pom poms which will adorn the bridge over the Willow Brook at Orchardson Avenue.

Another local craft group from Rushey Mead Library has also contributed different fish and decorations made from recycled materials to display on the bridge.

The clean-up work and the ‘guerilla knitting’ will be revealed at an opening event at Orchardson Avenue on Tuesday, August 18, at 11am.

Riverside Ranger Kim Hawksworth, who is involved in the Willow Brook scheme, said: “The Belgrave Knitting Group really took to the idea of getting involved, and over the past three months have come up with all sorts of wonderful knitted river-themed items.

“The guerrilla knitting in this case is only temporary, but will help draw attention to the work we’ve been doing, and help raise awareness of it within the community.

“The Willow Brook hasn’t always has the best water quality and is subject to pollution from various sources as it flows through the city, so this clean-up work will really make a big difference to help bring it back to its best.”

The Orchardson Avenue site is a high-profile location for the display, near to well-used local shops and residential areas, and a stone’s throw from the Peepul Centre and Cobden Industrial Estate.

Belgrave ward councillor and assistant city mayor for communities, Cllr Manjula Sood, added: "We really appreciate people from the community getting involved in a project like this.

"The knitting group is also a very good way to bring people together, especially people who aren't working, so the whole scheme has proved to be very positive."

The Shared Waters guerrilla knitting project will then move to other sites in the city which form part of the Willow Brook’s catchment, including Spinney Hill Park on August 20 and 21, Humberstone Park on August 24, and Willow Brook Park on August 25. 

The knitting will be in place at each site from 8am to 4pm on each day.
 The Environment Agency is also calling on people to post photos of the guerrilla knitting on Twitter at @envagencymids