Over the last 20 years we’ve made huge progress in making our beaches and bathing waters cleaner.
In 1988 only 18% of our bathing waters met minimum standards, in 2016 this was 100%.
Below is information on how we got there and how we’ll keep it that way…

Meet our new officer!

We are very excited to introduce you to our new LOVEmyBEACH Officer for Morecambe and Cumbria, Anya Kuliszewski!

Anya grew up near Arnside and Silverdale so is very familiar with Morecambe and Cumbria. She is a passionate environmentalist and is joining us from the National Trust, having been the Visitor Experience Manager at Sticklebarn and Langdale, where she managed the day-to-day running of the site, as well as all of their events and communications!

Before working for the National Trust, she worked for the RSPB and has put the environment, wildlife and public engagement at the heart of all her work, meaning she will be right at home with LOVEmyBEACH.

Anya will be based at Morecambe Bay Partnership and is already getting out on the beach to meet all our fantastic volunteers, so be sure to say hello if you bump into her.

We are so pleased to have her on the team and hope you will offer her a warm welcome to LOVEmyBEACH!

Volunteers urge families to take their plastic beach toys home

In just 3 months, the St Annes LOVEmyBEACH volunteers have collected an astonishing 133 plastic beach toys that were left on the beach! Now the beach cleaners are urging families to take their toys home rather than leave them behind.

The volunteers collect the toys, alongside other litter, to prevent them from entering the ocean and harming marine life. Rather than send the toys to landfill, they have been cleaned and donated to a local charity, Park View 4U, to extend their life and put the items to good use.

The St Annes North Beach Care group noticed two summers ago, how many toys they were collecting during their weekly beach cleans. Almost all remained in perfect working order and had no reason to be disposed of.

Michael Pearson, group leader says, “Rather than add to the growing amount of waste heading to landfill, we decided to save the buckets, spades and plastic shapes knowing they could be reused. It is a joint effort between the two beach clean groups in St Annes and we are very happy to support local charities working with children.”

Last year the toys were donated to Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s marine project and this year to Park View 4U, as both local charities work with children on environmental projects.

Unfortunately for the environment, a set of plastic beach toys can be picked up very cheaply at a pound store. Many families now seem to view taking the toys home as an inconvenience, instead choosing to leave them behind on the beach. Our concern is that people are viewing them as a disposable, single use item, rather than something that should be saved for future beach visits.

Plastic buckets, spades and toys are made of PVC, a type of plastic which is difficult to recycle and could take up over 450 years to break down in landfill.

Dave Foreman, St Annes North volunteer adds, “It’s not only the toys themselves that are a problem, they all come wrapped in further plastic and we are frequently picking up the netted packaging and tags that have been ripped off and left.”

The LOVEmyBEACH message for beach users is simple, when you visit the beach leave only footprints. This not only means dispose of you litter responsibly, but also take away any items which can be reused or recycled.

In the case of plastic toys, throwing them away is not the answer. Instead,  reuse them on your next visit or pass them on to another family that could make use of them.

If you would like to find out how else you can help at the beach, take a look here.

LOVEmyBEACH and Sandymental join forces to tackle beach litter

LOVEmyBEACH has joined forces with local artist, Sandymental, to tackle the mounting problem of beach litter plaguing our coastline in a novel way. A giant piece of sand art, measuring 25 metres, was created at Bispham on Friday urging beach goers to ‘leave only footprints’.

Increased visitor numbers to the Fylde Coast in the recent good weather has resulted in higher levels of litter than normal and unfortunately, much of this has been left behind on beaches. Despite more bins and signage, an army of volunteer beach cleaners and social media campaigns urging visitors to dispose of their litter responsibly, some people haven’t taken the message on board!

LOVEmyBEACH and Sandymental knew something more needed to be done to tackle the problem. Wanting to grab people’s attention in a different way, a 25 metre sand drawing was hard to miss.

The piece was created by Ben Higginson, taking 10 hours from design to completion. The drawing was designed at home on paper first and then Ben headed to the beach with a rake and began with 4 large circles, used as reference points. With the outline in the sand, next comes the detail alongside plenty of prayers that a dog doesn’t run across the drawing.

It was third time lucky for this design, after weather and tides put the earlier attempts on hold.

Sandymental are brother and sister due, Ben and Jax Higginson, who began the sand drawings as a therapeutic way to help their mental health. Their main aim is to raise awareness of mental health, whilst bringing a smile to people’s faces during lockdown, giving hope to others and inspiring a bit of creativity. Sandymental’s work captured the public’s attention in April with a large tribute to the NHS.

Ben says: “It’s nice to get out in the fresh air and speak to people about my art and the reasons for doing it. It helps when the sun shines, but sometimes it is nice to be on the beach alone in bad weather to clear your mind.”

LOVEmyBEACH officer Emily Parr commented “I was so impressed when I saw some of Sandymental’s designs online, that I knew it would be great if LOVEmyBEACH could collaborate on an anti-littering piece. When I spoke to Ben it was great to hear that he cared so much about the beach environment and was happy to create a bespoke piece for LOVEmyBEACH.”

“This piece of art was another way to keep the conversation going around the need to take your litter home and leave only footprints at the beach. It certainly captured people’s attention as pictures of the sand art were shared widely on social media before it had even been finished!”

Ben says, “It seemed appropriate to do a piece on litter given the vast numbers of people visiting the Fylde Coast and to help gently remind people that all it takes is a little effort form each person to help keep our beaches clean.”

If you have been inspired to create your own sand art encouraging people to take their litter home, please do share pictures online with LOVEmyBEACH.