Inspiring local communities to help care for Formby beach

Published : Wed 14th Sep

Formby is a complicated site, which balances the restoration and support of local habitats, with the needs of beach goers and visitors. As a popular tourist destination, it can have over 15,000 people visiting on peak days in the summer. Unfortunately, this brings issues on site and to the local area, including an increase in litter. So, we’ve been working with the local community and visitors to promote the importance of looking after the site and protecting it for everyone.

Exploring the issue of litter with local children

We began by engaging with seven local Primary Schools for World Earth Day. Community and Participation Manager, Paul Semple, gave a presentation to students around the issues of litter and the impact it has on the environment. Students across each school were then invited to act by collecting household litter and using it to create a mural which promotes the message of reusing waste, recycling if possible and, if not, using bins provided.

It’s ‘Bin’ wonderful working with local teenagers

Alongside this, in partnership with a local artist, we asked young people to support us by making our large bins presentable and visible. They started by researching the site and what makes it so unique, and then used this research to design images that would be painted on the bins to make them stand out. Working across six weeks, the young people worked tirelessly with the artist, Paul and a ranger to paint the bins. The bins were then presented in an exhibition on site with families, partners and local stakeholders invited to see the finished designs. This included painting of natterjack toads, the sunset/sunrise on Formby beach and the various coloured leaves you are likely to find on site.

Story 1 - 2nd image - its bin wonderful.jpg

Partnering with Liverpool Football Club Foundation and Asylum Action

After working with children and young people, we were also keen to work with adults to promote the message of looking after the site. Working in partnership with the LFC Foundation and their Employability programme, we asked for support from their participants to design a marketing campaign which would promote the message of picking up litter. Participants, all of whom were 18-25 years of age, came to visit the site and learn about the various roles the staff played in looking after nature and providing a great experience for all visiting. Over the next six weeks, they designed a campaign which talked about the importance of looking after the site and keeping it clean and this went live on our social media channels right before the summer period.

Finally, we worked with Asylum Action, a local Refugee group, by inviting them to Formby to learn more about the National Trust and to support us in looking after the site. They worked together with National Trust volunteers and staff to complete a litter pick across the entire site.

By working with such a variety of people of all ages and different backgrounds, it’s allowed us to engage in a more meaningful way with our community. We’ve been able to promote some of the key messages around how the public can support us in looking after the site and helped us to build a connection with some of those who had a negative perception of the National Trust. Together our volunteers and staff, having invited local people to play their part, have made the National Trust a vocal point of the Formby community.