More than 30 members of Southampton FC staff completed the football club's first ever beach clean, as part of a newly formed Saints Sustainability initiative.
In conjunction with environmental group Final Straw Solent, staff cleared rubbish from a five mile stretch of Weston Beach – just one of the many Saints green commitments, in order to make positive changes across the city for the community.
Observing social distancing measures at all times, staff were provided with gloves, buckets and litter pickers by Final Straw and spent two hours combing the coastline, collecting more than five large bin liners full of waste and debris that would otherwise pose a safety risk to both the public and wildlife.
Back in August last year, Saints launched a campaign to drive greener initiatives in the area and help make Southampton a cleaner and more sustainable place to live. The club recognises and wants to play its part maintaining and improving our local environment, for now and for future generations, with the overarching aim of becoming environmentally neutral by 2030.
More than eight months on, the football club has been busy introducing a number of changes both on campus and off it, centred around a detailed Saints Sustainability strategy.
An important part of the work is building strong relationships with local organisations and the beach clean is the first step of a partnership with Final Straw Solent – a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) working to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our environment.
Southampton FC Operational Standards and Compliance Manager and event organiser, Caroline Carlin, said: “We’re delighted to have completed our first beach clean as part of our Saints Sustainability initiative, and I’m really pleased with how many members of staff gave up their time to help make a difference.
“Without the commitment and dedication of colleagues, reaching our environmental goals will be almost impossible, and not only did we unite as one, the beach clean also provided the ideal opportunity to engage and educate, which in turn will help us spread our key messages to our supporters, who we also want to join us on our journey.”
Among the squad of litter pickers were Southampton FC Women's players Shannon Sievwright and Kirsty Whitton, who both also work for the football club.
Whitton said: “The beach clean was a really enjoyable and rewarding experience for all of us involved. It really opened our eyes to the positive impact we can have on the local environment.
"Saints Sustainability is great project that will help contribute to us all having a greener, cleaner city.”
Bianca Carr, Founder and Director of Final Straw Solent, said: "It’s an absolute honour to be partnering with Saints on their journey to becoming a more sustainable club. Beach cleans are just the beginning and the first one has proved a huge success.
“We hope everyone involved with the club, including our supporters, will back these initiatives as we bid to care for the area we’re lucky enough to call our home."