Led by BeachCare officer Neil Hembrow, the Sharp’s Beach Clean Battalion has been developing engagement in various community coastal projects in the South West over the last year.
Activities have included cleaning beaches, mending coastpath fences, renovating invaluable National Trust assets, knocking down walls and painting.
Now, with an enlarged support package from the brewery, the Sharp’ s Beach Clean Battalion is offering its free coastal care services to any community groups or individuals across Devon and Cornwall.
Teams of six to 12 hardy soldiers will be deployed promptly for at least two days a month throughout 2017 to undertake any coastal cleaning or maintenance that’s required. Beach and coastal community groups and individuals are being encouraged to make their local needs known.
Neil said: “This is a service that BeachCare put in place last year, with the collaboration of the Army volunteers, and now the backing of Sharp’s Brewery. The Sharp’s Beach Clean Battalion is ready to take on any job, no matter how big or small, with utter dedication.
“The beaches are benefiting, as we’ve removed over six tonnes of litter so far, helping with a whole host of other community projects across the South West. We now want to offer our services, across Devon and Cornwall, to any worthwhile community project.
“If you need a job done, these guys will make it happen. And those who take a responsibility for these coastal areas simply need to get in touch with me to add their task or project needs into the mix.”
James Nicholls, senior brand manager at Sharp’s Brewery, said: “With Sharp’s Brewery being based in Rock, North Cornwall, the coastline and our beaches are deeply important to us. For the last two years Sharp’s has supported Keep Britain Tidy and the Blue Flag initiative through sales of our limited release range of beers, and we are delighted to be extending this with our new sponsorship of the Beach Clean programme led by Neil Hembrow.
“It’s fantastic to have the British Army involved in helping keep beaches and the coast clean and accessing areas that are treacherous to reach. We’re looking forward to supporting the results of this work and also want to say thanks to all of the volunteers and Army members who are contributing their time to this important cause.”
Friends of Bude Sea Pool recently deployed the Sharp’s Beach Clean Battalion to help with the renovations around their area. Fay Hargreaves, charity co-ordinator, said: “It was a huge boost to have the guys along to help us out with our project.
“The Friends of Bude Sea Pool are renovating an old toilet building into a much-needed office and shop. We needed many hands and muscle to knock down some walls and to get rid of the debris. Sharp’s Beach Clean Battalion worked really hard and gave us the initial strength we needed to crack on with our project. They were brilliant.”
The National Trust in North Cornwall has recently had the team back again, working on the cliffs close to Polzeath. Mike Simmonds, the lead ranger there, said: “We have utilised the Sharp’s Beach Clean Battalion on the rather unusual task of helping us to start to renovate an underground Royal Observation Corps cold war monitoring station that we discovered at Pentire Head.
“The first stages have involved the removal of the large quantities of concrete debris used to fill the bunker on decommission in 1968. We are indebted to the team of Army volunteers for helping the ranger team in making short work of this rather arduous task. Overall I think they have helped us remove four skips full of heavy rubble! We very much hope that we can invite them back to view the bunker later on in its restoration.’’
Group or individuals who know of a remote beach that needs a clean or a coastal project that needs some muscle or help should contact Neil Hembrow from BeachCare by e-mailing BeachCareSouthWest@KeepBritainTidy.org