Based in the Swansea Valley, My Green Valley is a community organisation set up to help keep the Swansea Valley green, clean and beautiful for all to enjoy.

In 2023, they started rolling out their ‘Green Pitch Pledge’ to help tackle litter left around sports grounds. By donating ‘quick pick’ stations, they’re making it easy for local clubs to clear litter from their pitches before and after training sessions and games.

Social media, print and online coverage have helped this project go from strength to strength.

When did you first set up the My Green Valley community group?

In 2019, several Litter Champions in the Pontardawe area began meeting up. We had the idea of coordinating all the efforts going in our community and the idea of My Green Valley was born. We were supported by our local Keep Wales Tidy project officer who helped us draft a constitution, secure some litter picking kit and community group insurance.

How did you develop the Green Pitch Pledge?

The group recognised that there was a real need for action in and around sports grounds, so began to contact various sports teams using these facilities.

The idea was to donate a ‘quick pick’ station to each ground, enabling litter to be collected before, during and after training sessions and matches.

After spending more than 100 hours looking at design ideas, creating a prototype and trying to source funding, we eventually secured support from two local town councils and the Betws Windfarm.

Did you face any challenges rolling out the Green Pitch Pledge?

The project was delayed due to Covid, but we managed to design and create a prototype by mid-2022.

The next year was spent trying to engage clubs. This proved difficult initially, but once the first few clubs signed up, it was much easier to get others on board – they saw the good publicity and wanted to be part of that.

How did you publicise the project?

We reached out to important sporting organisations like Sport Wales, FA Wales, Cricket Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union.  Sport Wales has been very supportive of this project in promoting the benefits of the Quick Pick Stations.

We also managed to get local sporting legends on board to help with our publicity, including former Osprey and Wales rugby international, Duncan Jones, who described the Green Pitch Pledge as a “great initiative…. It means people can turn up at a playing field knowing that it will be a safe clean environment for them to enjoy”.

We have had requests from other sports clubs further up the valley, who would also like to get involved, and it is great to see that Sport Clubs can see the benefits of having a Quick Pick Station and have embraced the idea.

What role has social media played in your success? 

The My Green Valley Facebook page has gone from strength to strength over the years; we now have nearly 1,400 followers. It’s a great way to keep the wider community up to date on our regular litter picks, as well as attracting new volunteers.

With the Green Pitch Pledge, we used other local Facebook groups and pages to amplify our message, which created a degree of social pressure for clubs.

We now have clubs contacting us for stations and details on how they can get involved.

What’s next for My Green Valley?

As well as our continuing efforts in keeping where we live clean, green and beautiful for all with our regular picks, our big project for 2024 is a collaboration with local schools to create a programme of education, where we will be welcoming and training up new Ambassadors.

To find out more about My Green Valley, visit the Facebook page.

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