Witney Schools Win Enviro-Campaign Cash Prize
Three Witney schools have been celebrating winning prizes in the town's 'Bags of Life' recycling-re-use campaign. Wood Green, Tower Hill and St Mary's Infants were named as winners at an end-of-campaign celebration event (see pictures attached).
The campaign was funded by Oxfordshire Waste Partnership and led by OTCN Ltd, the driving force behind the Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network. It encouraged shoppers to take their own 'bag for life' or re-use an old plastic bag rather than collect new ones when they went shopping in Witney. Shoppers who were offered a plastic bag when they bought something in a participating town centre store, but said 'no thanks', were given a voucher which they could pass on to a participating school in Witney or neighbouring villages.
The 18 schools taking part were divided into three groups based on the number of pupils they have. The one in each category that collected the most vouchers won £500 to spend on an environmental project at the school. The prizes were presented at an end-of-campaign celebration event, hosted by St Mary’s and kindly supported by Kingdom Telecom Ltd.
Cllr Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Growth and Infrastructure, who launched the campaign, says: “I am delighted with the response from the children and this should encourage parents to become more aware of the need to reuse bags that will in turn make Witney a plastic bag free town.”
Joseph Rubba, Headteacher at St. Mary's (small school winner), said: “All the children and their families made a big effort to be part of Bags of Life in Witney. I think being involved in this project demonstrates that young children have a significant part to play in promoting awareness of environmental issues. St. Mary's Infant School is at the heart of the Witney community and we are all proud to be part of this initiative which extends beyond the school.”
Claire Lawrence-French, Forest School Leader at Tower Hill (medium school winner), says: “The staff and children at Tower Hill School are all very excited to have won this award. We have just started running 'Forest School' sessions and are developing our wildlife area known as the Dell. There are lots of possibilities and we are looking forward to the exciting developments ahead.”
Dawn Athey, who co-ordinated involvement in the campaign at Wood Green School (secondary school winner), says: “It is a testament to our students how keenly they took to supporting this community project. The project has helped them to understand the need to recycle and the ecological benefits of re- using carrier bags.”
More than 90 Witney town centre shops and traders – including some of the bigger stores, Waitrose, Boots, Somerfield, tenants in The Woolgate Centre, and Debenhams in the Marriotts Walk development plus a host of independent traders - signed up to be part of the scheme. Cottsway Housing lent their support by having 100 jute bags specially made to help their tenants play a part in the project.
The Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network (OTCN) is a communications network bringing together 26 local chambers and other business groups in the county with 1600 member businesses between them, plus 15 events networks with a database reach in excess of 3,500 businesses. For more details about the scheme visit www.otcn.co.uk/projects/plastic_bags.htm
(Photo shows Tyler Lawrence and Toby Hall (Tower Hill), Rosie Coy and Joshua Jordan-Cooper (St Mary’s), Natalie Dore and Laura Cooper (Wood Green) with Cllr Ian Hudspeth & Iain Nicholson)
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