Volunteers brave the water for river clean-up

Volunteers cleaning the river at Horsham
Volunteers cleaning the river at Horsham

Rusty bicycles, shopping trolleys and a car tyre were just some of the items found and removed by volunteers taking part in a river clean-up in Horsham.

Organised by the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT), the river clean-up took place on the River Arun, upstream of Worthing Road, on Thursday, November 6.

More than 20 people, including volunteers from the Horsham Green Gym community group, representatives from the Environment Agency, Arun & Rother Connections (ARC) project and Horsham District Council, braved cold water and bad weather to remove large volumes of rubbish that puts the river, and the wildlife that live in it, at risk.

Working in teams, the volunteers cleaned the channel, picked litter from the bankside and also cut back vegetation along the bankside and the public footpath that runs parallel with the river.

The Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) is dedicated to improving the quality of the catchment’s rivers and streams. Registered charity ARRT is just one of a network of Rivers Trusts working across England and Wales. The charity’s vision is for rivers in the Arun & Western Stream catchment to provide both a wonderful place for people to enjoy, and the best possible habitat for wildlife.

Last year, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a £1.1million grant to a partnership project, the Arun and Rother Connections: Linking Landscape and Community (ARC). Alongside a group of other organisations, the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust is using the funding to complete restoration work on the upper River Arun. As part of the funding, the organisations involved in the ARC project have committed to holding at least two river clean-ups each year.

Sir Sebastian Anstruther, Chairman of the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust, said: “The volunteers worked extremely hard to remove all the rubbish from this stretch of river, and it is wonderful to see local people playing their part to help breathe life back into the Arun.

“Events like this restore the environment and connect communities to their local rivers. They are also a great way for people to meet neighbours, keep active and benefit from the fresh air. We hope this work inspires others to get involved in similar projects, and for the wider community to help protect the environment by disposing of rubbish carefully. We have much to do to protect and improve our rivers, but by working together I am convinced that even the most complex issues can be addressed.”

Find out how you can help get involved in action to protect and restore the rivers inour catchment, by going to http://www.arrt.org.uk/.

Report and photos contributed by Lucy Brooks