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Moray & Banffshire Heroes 2024: Green community venture shortlist revealed!

By Leah Williamson

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Here is your shortlist for the green community venture award. Voting closes on Sunday, March 24.

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Girlguiding Moray

Girlguiding Moray.
Girlguiding Moray.

A massive beach clean-up inspired by King Charles’ Big Help Out initiative saw over 500 Girlguiding members tackle pollution along 50 miles of Moray coastline last summer.

Youngsters and leaders from 30 units joined forces to clean their community beaches as well as litter picking in their towns and parks.

The first Big Help Out initiative was launched last year, encouraging people to come together for their communities by donating their time. It sparked an idea in Girlguiding Moray county commissioner, Louise Winder, to challenge all the units in the county to clean as much of the coast between Findhorn and Cullen ‒ around 50 miles, including Findhorn, Roseisle, Hopeman, Lossiemouth, Spey Bay and Cullen ‒ as they could over the summer.

“I thought it would be a good idea for us to get involved and a great idea to clean the beach,” explained Louise.

“I challenged them to see how many miles of the Moray coast they could clean, and they went for it ‒ big style! We had more than 30 units going out cleaning; between 500 and 600 people ‒ siblings and parents were getting involved too!

“They just rose to the challenge. Some cleaned around their unit meeting place, around their town and parks. Some of the units invited the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre along to their meetings to explain to the children what pollution does to the animals.”

The challenge was one Girlguiding Moray took to its heart. The organisation encourages members of all ages through its Take Action Theme to actively improve their environment, raise awareness of local, national and international issues, and achieve their zero waste, recycling and upcycling badges.

Louise was delighted for all the volunteers' efforts to be recognised with a Heroes’ nomination.

“I’m thrilled! It’s great to be recognised. The girls really enjoyed getting involved in the challenge and it’s exciting for them that Girlguiding Moray as a whole has been shortlisted for an award.”

Moray Waste Busters

Moray Waste Busters.
Moray Waste Busters.

Re-use business, Moray Waste Busters, has proved to be a huge success with folk across the area earning it a Heroes nomination for its positive impact on local communities.

Based at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Forres, Waste Busters takes in items and re-sells them rather than going to landfill.

A nomination said Waste Busters had grown into one of Moray’s most successful green businesses: “It shows utter dedication and enthusiasm to reducing waste in Moray and beyond by promoting the circular economy.”

“The idea is if people are having a clear out at home and on their way to the dump, and they have anything that can be re-used (rather than recycled or landfilled) we encourage them to donate to us,” explained manager, Philip Mills.

“We check them out and sell them back to the public at knockdown prices. That way people are getting items cheaply and things are not being unnecessarily destroyed. We take virtually everything ‒ furniture, household goods, clothes, bikes, electrical items, books!”

Moray Waste Busters sells over 200,000 items a year, has two vehicles, and collects and delivers items for free in the Elgin, Nairn and Forres area. It employs 29 staff and has a dozen regular volunteers.

The business has been such a success that local community groups, charities, social enterprises and schools can get items for free.

The business started life as a composting project 21 years ago but grew into Waste Busters as more people were disposing of items that could be re-used.

Philip took over as manager seven years and it has grown ever since.

“We’re finding now that when people are having a clear out, they are putting items aside for Waste Busters. We’re able to sell these items on. We’re here to save items from being disposed of and we do that by making it as easy as we can for people.”

Philip was delighted the organisation had been shortlisted, adding: “I’m very pleased! I’m surprised but delighted.”

The green community venture award is sponsored by Vattenfall UK.

Lucy Blake, project manager for Vattenfall’s Aultmore Wind Farm, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring this new award which celebrates the fantastic community groups and organisations leading the way in sustainability and environmental awareness.

“The award aligns with our core values of sustainability and helping build a fossil fuel-free future. In addition, with our redesigned Aultmore Wind Farm proposal in Banffshire we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to the area and recognise those inspirational groups who are making such a positive difference in helping create a greener future for their community.

“We hope to see some great nominations and would like to encourage anyone who knows a local group involved in promoting sustainability and environmental awareness to please take the time to vote for them.”

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