Jedburgh residents ‘take charge’ of cleaning up their street

Tired of waiting for someone else to help, residents in one street in Jedburgh have decided to take action themselves to help improve their neighbourhood.

Organised by Debbie McCracken of Grieve Avenue in Jedburgh, residents have set up a community group to tackle litter and antisocial behaviour.

Those living on the street had complaints about rubbish, dog fouling, drug dealing, speeding and other antisocial behaviour. After meeting with the police and with the local housing association, Debbie decided that it was time those who lived on Grieve Avenue took action.

She sent a letter to every resident on the street and described the response as “hugely positive.” People started picking up litter and last weekend (Saturday 16th September) more than 30 residents of all ages, turned up to get rid of the last few bits of rubbish.

Now the Grieve Avenue group have plans to improve their street further by installing speed bumps, fencing off gardens to discourage littering, installing bins and turning a derelict piece of land into a community space.

Local MP John Lamont, who attended the litter picking session on Saturday has praised the residents of Grieve Avenue, describing them as a “fantastic example” to others of what can be achieved if a community works together.

Debbie McCracken, the organiser of the community effort said: “Our street has been neglected for too long with rubbish piling up and antisocial behaviour on the rise. After meeting with the police and the local housing association, it became clear to me that something else had to be done.

“I thought to myself, why can’t those who live here help?

“I sent letters to my neighbours and it was clear there was a huge amount of enthusiasm for us to take charge. People started picking up litter and last weekend we organised a community street cleaning session, which was attended by more than 30 people.

“We have plans to install speed bumps to slow the traffic down, will be holding road safety awareness sessions and are looking in to installing rubbish bins and fence off gardens on Grieve Avenue to reduce litter.

“We are also looking in to using a neglected area of land to create a space for children to play and for adults to relax, if we can find the funding.”

Commenting, John Lamont MP said: “The residents of Grieve Avenue are a fantastic example to us all. Tired of waiting for someone else to intervene, they have decided to get stuck in themselves.

“I was very impressed with the level of enthusiasm and with the number of people who turned up to the street cleaning session.

“Their plans do not stop with litter picking and I would urge the council and police to do everything they can to ensure the group are able to make the improvements they want.”

John added: “This is a great example of community spirit which is so common in the Borders. I would encourage others who have similar concerns about their street to speak to their neighbours. When people get together, it’s amazing what can be achieved.”

Jedburgh Councillor, Scott Hamilton, who also attended the litter picking session said afterwards: “It was great to see such a great example of community effort in Jedburgh.

“I am sure Debbie and the other residents will achieve a lot with the amount of work they are willing to put in. I will be working to help where ever I can."