Situated just outside the centre of Middlesbrough, is Linthorpe, a leafy inner-suburb area. And within it lies an environmental group called Friends of Linthorpe.

Philippa Storey, an active environmentalist, first started Friends of Linthorpe around two years ago. After seeing the rise of environmental issues and the impact society were having upon the environment, Phillipa felt prompted to do something.

Originating from the Friends of Linthorpe Cemetery and Loving Linthorpe, the Friends of Linthorpe group was created to help keep the Linthorpe area tidy.

The Friends of Linthorpe is a group on Facebook which share photos and events; helping make their area a tidier and more environmentally friendly place to live in. The group aims to be extremely gentle, positive and environmentally focused.

The Facebook Group page states: “Come and be an eco-warrior and help keep Linthorpe tidy. We will be holding regular litter picks throughout Linthorpe. Come and join our team. All ages welcome.”

In the early stages of the group, people assisted alley clean-ups and set up alley gardens. The group wanted to help grow vertical plants and sustainable growth within the local area. There are currently over 250 members and hosts regular activities and litter picks.

Linthorpe locals have responded really positively to the group’s impact on the area, with even a population of the older community from the Name of March Church on the Avenue getting involved.

Since Covid-19, Phillipa has expressed that Linthorpe has seen a huge increase in a lot more rubbish, with residents noticing an increase in disposable masks. As social distancing restrictions have been in place it has made it harder if not impossible for the group to do things.

As a result of Covid-19, the group has had a break but has started to return to their normal activities – with a litter pick just taking place last Sunday. The group has been meeting in family bubbles to ensure they are adhering to covid regulations.

Despite having had to wait to continue their activities, there has been a constant response from the group throughout the global pandemic.

Phillipa is currently group admin for 54 groups across Teesside, but Friends of Linthorpe aims to keep their work as local to Linthorpe as possible. Phillipa hopes to inspire other local areas across Teesside to adapt their own approach to helping the environment.

As it stands, the group is free. However, they do require a small income to ensure the running of some events. Friends of Linthorpe have received donations of litter picks from the council but are in need of more.

Ultimately, the group is about making a positive change. Phillipa loves seeing the pictures shared on the Facebook page. “Sometimes it is easy to forget just how beautiful our local area is; you forget the beautiful spaces we have on our doorstep,” she told me.

Phillipa’s care and love for the environment radiate to everyone around her. Even rubbing off on her eldest son Jack from a very young age.

Ever since the age of 2, Jack has been obsessed with the environment. Now 9 years old, he is actively involved in helping the environment. From writing letters to his headteacher asking to be plastic-free and for a beehive, he has been inspiring others to take action and do better.

“I feel sad when I see plastic on the floor and in the ocean,” Jack told me. “I want to be a Marine biologist when I grow up,” he said expressing his love for saving the planet and how that sharks are his favourite animal.

Jack is also actively involved in Friends of Linthorpe. The group welcomes all ages and encourages children to get involved in helping tidy their local area. Phillipa feels children are the future of the environment. “We need a driving force from either end of the spectrum. We need to start where we know we can make a difference,” she said.

If you want to find more information about getting involved, you can find Friends of Linthorpe on Facebook.

Photo credit –  Friends of Linthorpe Facebook Page and Phillipa Storey.


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