Cleaning up Leamington's Old Town!

PUBLISHED: 13:01 17 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:14 17 April 2015

The Old Town clean-up team

The Old Town clean-up team

Archant

Sarah Windrum was inspired to help clean up Leamington's Old Town, giving the area some much needed TLC

Shop keepers were happy with the workShop keepers were happy with the work

New national initiatives like Community Clean Up Day and Street Pride, as well as local enthusiasm for the recent Canal & River Trust towpath work, inspired myself and another South Leamington resident Kristie Naimo to get a group of volunteers together and organise an exterior clean of shop buildings in Old Town. We wanted to bring out our pride in South Leamington, which is obvious when you spoke to local residents and businesses - but not so clear when you looked at some of the building facades suffering after years of dirt build up especially at the main traffic junction of High Street and Clemens Street.

Love Leam is a local programme of events run by BID Leamington and the 400+ retailers in the centre of town so we wanted to bring Old Town into this celebration of Leamington’s great mix of national and independent traders. Our Old Town Clean Up took place on 15th March which marked the end of Love Leam month. It was also the week before the official Community Clean Up Day too but that didn’t stop our amazing team of volunteers coming out early to give Old Town a real spring clean! We started at the Grand Union on Clemens Street and worked down to WCAVA at the junction before moving along and back down High Street giving Dassur Solicitors, Cost Cutter, and everything in between a mini makeover!

The local traders could not have been more supportive. When Kristie and I first discussed the idea (and huge credit to Stephanie Kerr at BID Leamington for the original brainwave!) we did wonder if people would think we were a little crazy cleaning buildings with our brushes and buckets. Yet, on the day itself the food, hot and cold drinks, and constant supply of hot water from places like the Millennium Sweet House, Sicilian Pizza, the Coffee Box, the Grand Union, the Hope Tavern, the Railway Inn, and Cost Cutter reminded us of the huge sense of community in Old Town. When you’ve cleaned for 4 hours straight and someone hands you a slice of delicious pizza and a cup of sweet Indian tea - it really does warm the soul!

The volunteers having fun cleaningThe volunteers having fun cleaning

We were so inspired by the success of the day that Kristie and I are planning another event in mid June. As well as our core team of residents and incredible volunteers from Warwick University, we have already been approached by the local Barclays Bank team and we would love any individuals or corporate teams to get in touch if you want to get involved. There is nothing more satisfying in this world than a job well done and even better is the appreciation you receive for it. Jag Klare, proprietor of the Millennium Sweet House said to me ‘You don’t see this every day. People taking time out of their busy lives to help other traders by cleaning their shopfronts.’

And my reply?

‘It’s simple really. We all love Old Town.’

If you would like more details on our next Old Town Clean Up planned for mid June, please contact myself Sarah Windrum on 07859 827365 or sarah.windrum@hotmail.co.uk or Kristie Naimo on 07906 262364 or kristienaimo@hotmail.com

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