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This summer, SPAR stores along UK coastlines are organising and taking part in community coastal clean-ups as part of the Million Mile Clean initiative.

Collaborating with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), an environmental marine company who organise coastal clean ups, the Million Mile Clean is an initiative that brings communities together and cleans several miles of the coast.

SPAR stores started taking part in the Coastal Clean-up initiative in June for World Ocean Day and will continue taking part in clean ups into the summer months.

Seven coastal beach locations have already had a coastal clean-up including Seaton Carew in County Durham, Southsea beach in Portsmouth plus Ballycastle Beach, Kilkeel Beach, Newcastle Beach, Killyleagh and Kircubbin in Northern Ireland.

SPAR provides stores with the opportunity to participate in the Million Mile Clean and organisers SAS provide all the tools and kits to conduct the initiative. These kits include rubble sacks, gloves and first aid kits for up to 30 volunteers.

SPAR UK, Brand and Marketing Director, Suzanne Dover, said: “We have arranged with Surfers Against Sewage that SPAR stores can sign up to participate in the Million Mile Clean. This is an initiative that involves bringing our communities together as well helping the environment.

“We are delighted to see eleven  SPAR stores already getting behind this initiative and helping to clean up their local beaches. It has made an enormous difference to local communities.”

SPAR Seaton Crew in Durham, which is owned and serviced by SPAR’s wholesaler James Hall & Co. Ltd, took a number of colleagues with two members of the community out and cleaned Seaton Carew beach in early June.

Fiona Drummond, Company Stores Director at James Hall & Co. Ltd, said: "An important part of a community is its assets and the Coastal Clean-up provided our staff in Seaton Carew with a fantastic opportunity to look after the jewel in its crown which is the town's beach.

"SPAR stores are part of the fabric of their communities and we were delighted that members of the public joined the store team for the clean-up to improve the beach for all who use it."

Appleby Westward company-owned stores area manager Indya McLaren led a team of more than 20 store managers, deputy managers and other colleagues on a beach clean at the end of June.

“We held a clean up on Southsea beach, which is a short drive from all of my stores so we kept it local,” said Indya.  “It was a great opportunity to do our bit for the environment as well as have some fun with colleagues.”

In Northern Ireland, Ballycastle Beach was cleaned up by store staff from EUROSPAR Ballycastle, SPAR Castle Street, SPAR Moyle Road and Boyle’s SPAR Ballycastle.

Monica Smylie from EUROSPAR Ballycastle said: "It was great to take part in a worthwhile community event to clean Ballycastle beach as this is having a positive impact on tourists, locals and wildlife."

Kevin Morgan also from EUROSPAR Ballycastle said: "It was great to come together with the other three SPAR stores in Ballycastle for the benefit of our local community."

Kilkeel Beach was also cleaned up by staff from EUROSPAR Greencastle Street and EUROSPAR Newcastle Road, both in Kilkeel, and colleagues said it was a very worthwhile cause and that they would happily do it again. “It was great teamwork and a fantastic sense of achievement when you look back at what we've done,” said Erin Flood from EUROSPAR Newcastle Road.

Colleagues from EUROSPAR Newcastle town enjoyed getting together and cleaning up Newcastle beach. “It’s important to be effective in our local community. A customer stopped with us and congratulated the team on our efforts and was amazed we were making such an effort to keep our local beach clean,” said Colette Valentine.

Jack Middleton – co-founder of the Million Mile Clean, said: “At Surfers Against Sewage our aim is to make the UK a cleaner, greener place for everyone to enjoy. That’s why we’ve created our biggest ever beach clean campaign: the Million Mile Clean. We’re mobilising 100,000 people each year to get out there and protect the areas they love.

“Beach, street, river, or mountain, the Million Mile Clean is open to everyone, no matter where you live. Whether you’re an individual beach cleaner, a group of friends, a team of colleagues, a school or community group, every piece of rubbish you collect brings us one step closer to stopping plastic pollution.

“Our campaign reconnects communities with the environment and makes it as easy as possible to do and feel good. Beach cleaning boosts your mental health and wellbeing and provides a great opportunity to meet likeminded people. Plus, we send out a free beach clean kit to everyone who registers.”

For more information on how to get involved visit https://beachcleans.org.uk/