Chris Hackett

Why did you join Cardiff Rivers Group?

I was becoming increasingly aggravated on my walks along the Taff Trail by the litter and debris tossed into the River Taff, as if it was some refuse disposal facility. On one occasion, I came upon a pile of green rubbish sacks. Someone felt the same as me but were doing something about it and not just grumbling about it as I was. I called Louise, found out when the next event was, and a week later I was fishing shopping trolleys out of the Taff at Blackweir.

Please tell us your story!

In the early days, I felt as though I was doing my bit as a member of the public trying to make a small difference for others who enjoyed the Taff and its environs, and wanting this shared experience to be a better one by making the place one to be proud of.

However, it soon became evident that the members of Cardiff Rivers Group have a great time undertaking events, and the camaraderie and fun soon became just as good reasons for being a member as keeping Cardiff’s rivers clean. It was a real thrill when our application for the Queens Award for Voluntary Service was recognised, and I had the opportunity to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace with another committee member. The memories of the day will stay with me forever.

What changes have you seen in your community as a result of your actions?

Over the years, it has been noticeable that litter picks in previously picked areas result in fewer bags of rubbish collected. I’d like to think that if an area looks clean, then the public are less likely to drop litter, and this seems to be the case here.

I am always humbled when I see the odd lone litter picker keeping an area tidy. Its not always a pleasant job, but the efforts of the few can make an enormous difference to a street or a green area more enjoyable for all. Its great also to see litter bins full – often to overflowing so if Cardiff Council could empty them a little more frequently.

Why do you enjoy volunteering with CRG?

Being a member of CRG has introduced me to parks, streams and woodlands I had no idea existed, and probably would not have found by myself in a month of Sundays! My appreciation of the city is greater than ever, and I have made many new friends in CRG, as well as being introduced to many new ‘post- event drink’ pubs as well!

What advice, hints or tips you would give to someone joining CRG?

Be prepared to have fun, probably getting wet and dirty along the way. If you can spare a couple of hours, even once a year you can make a difference!

Anything else you’d like to say?

CRG is like having an extended family from all walks of life. It’s always fun to hang out with them for a couple of hours every three weeks and then go for beer and pork scratchings afterwards.