PEOPLE are being urged to roll up their sleeves for a brighter, better Barnstaple when a special annual town tidy-up gets under way next week. A small army of volunteers is being mobilized to blitz a number of sites across the town during Barnstaple Town

PEOPLE are being urged to roll up their sleeves for a brighter, better Barnstaple when a special annual town tidy-up gets under way next week.

A small army of volunteers is being mobilized to blitz a number of sites across the town during Barnstaple Town Council's third annual "Tidy Up Our Town Week".

Councillors will join hundreds of schoolchildren, residents, businesses and the police during a week of litter picks and clean-up initiatives taking place from Monday to Saturday.

The community event has become a firm annual fixture since being introduced by the council's Environment Committee in 2008, when around 100 people got involved. In 2009, more than 300 volunteers aged from eight-to-80 filled 108 bags of rubbish and 10 skips, while this year, the council hopes that more people than ever will help make Barnstaple a better place for local people and visitors.

"To ask a community to come out and volunteer their time for the benefit of their town is a special thing to do," said Mayor Cllr Ian Roome, who will be officially launching his year's event at the Guildhall at 10am on Monday.

"But whenever we ask people to come out and do their bit for Barnstaple they never let us down; the community spirit shown during previous events in recent years has left me in little doubt that people who live in Barnstaple, love Barnstaple.

The town council is providing litter pickers, waste bags and skips, as well as safety equipment including high-visibility jackets and gloves.

In October last year, the town council launched Barnstaple Green Team, an umbrella organisation designed to help various groups, residents' associations, businesses, the police and schools to work together to share information and ideas on a range of environmental issues.

One corner of Barnstaple eager to get busy ahead of next Monday's launch is Frankmarsh and Gorwell. Residents will be holding their own clean-up action day tomorrow (Thursday), from 10am-4pm. Volunteers will be meeting at 10am at Frankmarsh Stores. For more information, telephone Tracey Williams, North Devon Homes Neighbourhood Officer on (01271) 312500 or visit the Big Tidy Up website www.bigtidyup.co.uk.

n THE Gazette will be out and about during the week to capture the town's clean-up efforts on camera. If you're holding a tidy-up event, let us know. Telephone (01271) 345056.