Gorebridge dog fouling campaign picks up award

Mhairi Barrett (development officer)  and Ellen Scott (chairwoman) from Gorebridge Community Cares.
Mhairi Barrett (development officer) and Ellen Scott (chairwoman) from Gorebridge Community Cares.

Gorebridge Community Cares has been recognised for its dog fouling campaign, which engaged local people – young and old in tackling the issue.

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful presented the group with the Clean Up Scotland ‘Hero of the Month’ award in recognition of the group’s ‘Poo Dunnit’ campaign, which engaged the whole village and its young people in a dog fouling initiative.

Gorebridge Community Cares was nominated for the award by Beautiful Scotland judges who visited the Keep Gorebridge Beautiful Group.

The judges commended the group’s ‘Poo Dunnit’ campaign, which worked with St Andrew’s RC Primary School and Gorebridge Primary School to raise awareness of the negative effects dog fouling has on the environment and on people’s health.

As part of the village-wide initiative, pupils were involved in playing a pivotal role as dog fouling ‘policemen’, measuring the levels of dog fouling they spotted on the streets and spray painting the ‘crime scenes’ in bright colours – bringing it to the attention of others and ultimately helping to reduce dog fouling locally.

Ellen Scott, chairwoman of Gorebridge Community Cares, said:“It truly is an honour to receive the Clean Up Scotland Hero of the Month Award. Through a ‘Dragon’s Den’ type grant, awarded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we wanted to run a fun campaign that would get through to dog owners the unacceptability of leaving dog poo on streets, parks and paths.

“We had a great time, helped very much by the ideas of Fiona Maher, our consultant artist, and the children had a great time during the campaign, amid much laughter.

“We think it captured the imagination of children. Some of our trustees went on to spray any dog poo found and treat it as a crime scene, leaving detective calling cards and cordoning off the offending area with ‘Crime Scene - Do not enter’ biodegradable tape.

“We will continue to promote pride in our local area, and we might just have to think of another new idea to be going on with!”

The Hero of the Month award is supported by The Helping Hand Company which provide each hero with a clean-up kit. Lindsay Richmond-Kearns, communities manager for Helping Hand Environmental, said: “We are delighted to help present this award to Gorebridge Community Cares. It’s great to see a community group working with local schools to tackle dog fouling in such an interesting way. For this hero presentation we have adapted the clean-up heroes kit by providing an additional Handiscoop Pooper Scooper to help the group with their campaign activities.”

Heather McLaughlin, community project officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful presented the award. She said: “‘Poo Dunnit’ is a fantastic example of an extremely successful community campaign.

“It has managed to engage the whole community, from school pupils to shopkeepers, and motivated people to make a real difference – ultimately reducing the amount of dog poo littering the streets of Gorebridge.

“There are volunteers all across Scotland like Gorebridge Community Cares who are working very hard to clean-up and green-up their local area. I would encourage everyone to nominate their local heroes for our Hero of the Month award.”