As the summer heats up and locals flock to their favourite coastal areas, Ballycastle Beach is one of five of NI’s much-loved beaches and coastal destinations that is pristine and ready to welcome visitors thanks to neighbouring SPAR and EUROSPAR store teams, who have been taking part in SPAR UK’s Community Coastal Clean-ups as part of the Million Mile Clean Initiative.
Collaborating with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), an environmental marine company who organise coastal clean-ups, the Million Mile Clean is an initiative that brings communities together and cleans several miles of the coast.
Leading the charge for the UK-wide initiative, four local stores in the surrounding area have made positive impacts on Ballycastle Beach, while five others have cleaned up Kilkeel Beach, Newcastle Beach, Killyleagh and Kircubbin.
Ballycastle Beach was cleaned up by store staff from EUROSPAR Ballycastle, SPAR Castle Street, SPAR Moyle Road and Boyles SPAR Ballycastle. Monica Smylie from EUROSPAR Ballycastle said: "It was great to take part in a worthwhile community event to clean Ballycastle beach as this is having a positive impact on tourists, locals and wildlife."
Kevin Morgan also from EUROSPAR Ballycastle said: "It was great to come together with the other three SPAR stores in Ballycastle for the benefit of our local community."
Kilkeel Beach was also cleaned up by staff from EUROSPAR Greencastle Street, and EUROSPAR Newcastle Road, both in Kilkeel and colleagues said it was a very worthwhile cause and that they would happily do it again. “It was great teamwork and a fantastic sense of achievement when you look back at what we've done,” said Erin Flood from EUROSPAR Newcastle Road, Kilkeel.
Colleagues from EUROSPAR Newcastle town enjoyed getting together and cleaning up Newcastle beach. “It’s important to be effective in our local community. A customer stopped with us and congratulated the team on our efforts and was amazed we were making such an effort to keep our local beach clean,” said Colette Valentine.
SPAR provides stores with the opportunity to participate in the Million Mile Clean and organisers SAS provide all the tools and kits to conduct the initiative. These kits include rubble sacks, gloves and first aid kits for up to 30 volunteers.
SPAR UK, Brand and Marketing Director, Suzanne Dover, said: “As Northern Ireland is home to some of the most stunning beaches and coastlines in the UK, we’re delighted to see SPAR NI stores lead the way with this initiative.
“We have arranged with Surfers Against Sewage that SPAR stores can sign up to participate in the Million Mile Clean, an initiative that involves bringing our communities together as well helping the environment.
“Ten SPAR stores are already behind this initiative and helping to clean up their local beaches. It has made an enormous difference to local communities.”
Jack Middleton – co-founder of the Million Mile Clean, said: “At Surfers Against Sewage our aim is to make the UK a cleaner, greener place for everyone to enjoy. That’s why we’ve created our biggest ever beach clean campaign: the Million Mile Clean. We’re mobilising 100,000 people each year to get out there and protect the areas they love.
“Beach, street, river, or mountain, the Million Mile Clean is open to everyone, no matter where you live. Whether you’re an individual beach cleaner, a group of friends, a team of colleagues, a school or community group, every piece of rubbish you collect brings us one step closer to stopping plastic pollution.
“Our campaign reconnects communities with the environment and makes it as easy as possible to do and feel good. Beach cleaning boosts your mental health and wellbeing and provides a great opportunity to meet likeminded people. Plus, we send out a free beach clean kit to everyone who registers.”
For more information on how to get involved visit https://beachcleans.org.uk/