Environmentalists blog – August 2017

What a fantastic month it has been for the Maltby Environmentalists!

The group were lucky to appear not once, but twice on BBC Radio Sheffield over the past few weeks! The first appearance saw James having a chat with Rony who had been asking South Yorkshire what we were proud of…well we couldn’t be prouder of our Environmentalists! We’d love to share a link with you to the interview but it’s not on iPlayer any more!

Our second appearance came on the back of chatting with Rony when we invited BBC Radio Sheffield to join us on one of our litter picks to talk with the group and find out a bit more about what’s going on. Kat (the presenter) came down in the BBC Radio Sheffield van and spoke with two of our amazing volunteers, Marta and Olivia, the founder of the group, Freda, as well as James who helps run the group.

Having a chat with Kat live on air!

It was a lovely day and it was great to see so many children and adults coming out to join in. To say thank you for getting up so early (we were on live at 8.30am during the school holidays!) we treated to group to bacon sandwiches, and they were delicious! We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came down and got involved – new and old members!

From the piece on the radio we’ve even had other people who live in Maltby get in touch who were inspired to set up their own group!

If you missed the interview you can still listen in, but hurry, it will come off BBC iPlayer in the next week or so! You can listen in by clicking here.

You can also take a look at this month’s vlog from James by clicking the link below.

Environmentalists blog – TPAS awards win

Fresh from their national TPAS award for Excellence in Community Action, our Engagement Officer, James Smith, spoke to Freda who runs the Environmentalists group about what the award means to them.

You’ll also notice another guest appearance from Baby the dog who received her very own medal!

We really enjoyed the whole awards evening – below are a couple of snaps that we took on the night.








Here’s the moment we found out that the Environmentalists had won…

Environmentalists blog – July 2017

Our Environmentalists have been busy over the past couple of months enjoying the sunshine and have been up to loads!

We were delighted to welcome our newest member Olivia to the Environmentalists, and we’ve even recruited some furry friends to help us with our work! Don’t Jack and Jazzy look great.


Take a look at our video to find out more about their good work.

Environmentalists blog – May 2017

Fresh from our Tpas Awards celebrations the Maltby Environmentalists got back to doing what we do best with three litter picks over Easter.

We said thank you to the group for all their hard work with some Easter treats and got together to go through an update on health and safety whilst we’re out and about litter picking.

Take a look at my video blog for this month by clicking the link below.

Here’s what Annette had to say about our health and safety session with the group.

Here’s some of our favourite pictures from the month!

Environmentalists blog – Tpas awards 2017

We’re trying a new style of blog this month! Okay, so it’s not much different, in fact it’s only one syllable different but here’s a special vlog update from our Environmentalists following the Tpas Awards 2017. See if you can spot a special guest appearance at the start of the video!

We took an iPad with us on the day and took some shots of the group – sorry if some of the interviews are a bit quiet!

We also took some lovely photos on the day, too many to share all of them but here’s my personal favourite.
Tpas awards 2017












Make sure you watch out for our April vlog at the start of May.

James Smith, Engagement Officer

Environmentalists blog – March 2017

With the weather finally perking up, the Environmentalists came out of their Winter hibernation and held their first litter pick of 2017 on 10th March, and as always there was a great turn out.

The estate was certainly in need of Spring clean after our winter break, and it was great to see everyone working hard and full of enthusiasm. The difference the children made in just one day was unbelievable.


We were delighted to welcome our latest adult volunteer, Julie Barber to the litter pick. Julie is an SYHA customer and shares Freda’s passion for the environment. She is really interested in recycling and will be a great asset to the team, and the children welcomed her in true Environmentalist’s style. Julie has already committed to helping Bob with recycling runs to the tip and I’ve never seen someone litter picking so hard passionately – I had to confiscate her litter picking grabbers when we’d finished as she just wanted to carry on!

It was really pleasing to see so many mums and dads joining their children to give us a hand. Word about the group must be spreading as we even managed to recruit three new children members to the group just whilst walking round the estate. They’re due to start next week when we’ll also be welcoming back some of our regular members from last year.

Environmentalists fleeces

We’re really looking forward to getting stuck in over the next few months, and it looks like we’ll have over 20 children and around 8 adult volunteers litter picking each week.

Whilst the group has been off for the Winter I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to find new opportunities for the group for 2017. I had a few really productive meetings with Wayne Munro-Smith who is project lead for the Rotherham Love Where You Live team. Wayne seems to be the man who can make all the Environmentalist’s dreams come true. He’s committed to helping us to provide some litter bins and no littering signs on the estate, and we talked about lots of other exciting developments which we’ll be able to tell you about in the next few weeks so watch this space.

Environmentalists litter pick

Finally, we were delighted to find out that we’ve made it through to the final of the T-PAS (Tenant Participation) Awards 2017, and we’ll be taking some of our adult volunteers along to the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on the 7th of April for the awards ceremony. Wish us luck and keep your eyes peeled for a special awards ceremony update!

The next blog that I write will have a slightly different look to our previous ones as we’re going to start doing a vlog (a video blog) so we can show you more of the different things we’re up to. Until then I hope you make the most of the longer days and nicer weather, and if you’d like to get involved with the Environmentalists, or indeed set up your own local group where you live please do just drop me an email at j.smith@syha.co.uk

James Smith

Engagement Officer

Environmentalists blog – December 2016

It’s my final blog of the year, and what a fantastic year 2016 has been for the Maltby Environmentalists.

December started in the usual eventful fashion, and with the annual Aldersgate Court Christmas concert fast approaching, the children gathered on Freda’s drive for their first carol practice session. The dark, cold and wet night didn’t put them off their singing and it was brilliant to see how excited they are and how determined they were to put on a good show. You can take a sneak peak at their practice session below:

We then sat down with the group to help them write their letters to Father Christmas before the kids presented South Yorkshire Housing Association staff and volunteers with a giant (and rather lovely) Christmas card to say thank you from the group for their involvement in the project. We were all really touched and the card is now taking pride of place on the office wall.

Freda and Bob also sent a handmade card around the neighbourhood, highlighting their on-going passion for the project.

We can’t wait for next weeks practice session before the big performance, which will be at Aldersgate Court Community Centre at 12.30pm on Thursday 22nd December if anyone is interested in coming along give me a call on 0114 2908 356.

So, to sign off for the year, on behalf of all the Environmentalists and everyone at South Yorkshire Housing Association, in our best Shakin’ Stevens voices – merry Christmas everyone!

James Smith
Engagement Officer

Environmentalists blog – November 2016

We’ve had a fun filled October and put our £500 grant from the Wentworth Valley Area Assembly to good use.

We took 21 of our lovely Environmentalists to the Jump trampoline park in Rotherham to say a huge thank you for all their hard work over the last 12 months. I’d highly recommend the park to anyone looking for a fun day out for the kids!

Many somersaults and flips later we headed to Aldersgate Court for a slap up buffet courtesy of Grace, Dennis, Eileen and Alex (SYHA customers).

Everyone had a great time and it was fantastic to see different generations of our customers coming together and enjoying each others company. Having all the kids together allowed me to get some ideas from them, one of which was to create a set of group guidelines to help ensure the litter pick continues to be a safe and enjoyable activity for all.

We’re planning to issue the Environmentalists with membership cards with the guidelines on the back when we re-launch a new year of litter picking in 2017.

We all left the day feeling positive about the future and looking forward to getting on with some singing practice ahead of our annual Christmas Carol Concert.

You can take a look at a short video of the day below, which includes Andy (our Housing Officer for Maltby) and myself taking the plunge from the high jump.

Make sure you wrap up warm for the rest of November!

James Smith,
Engagement Officer

Environmentalists blog – October 2016

It’s been a tough few weeks for our dedicated volunteers and the young Environmentalists.

There’s been a few problems on the Abbey Reach estate which has meant a break in letter picking proceedings for a few weeks.

The pleasing thing however, is that the adult volunteers remain dedicated to keeping the project going and there’s still a huge interest from around 15 children who turn up at Freda’s house each week to check whether the litter pick is happening.

The plan is to re-start litter picking towards the end of October, after we have treated our Environmentalists to their annual thankyou event during the half term.

We’re pleased to have been granted £500 from Wentworth Valley Area Assembly, which will help us to fund the day out and hopefully a further treat for the kids at Christmas.

I sent a postcard to the kids asking what their ideal day out would be. Over half of the kids replied and it looks like we might be going to Jump trampoline centre, or Clifton park.

I’ll be sure to let you know how our day out went, so watch this space! And here are some of the masterpieces we received…


october-blog-2 october-blog-3

Environmentalists blog – June 2016

As I was helping Freda to run the litter pick on Friday, I was taking a few pictures and thinking to myself ‘I need to get something different to post on the Environmentalists blog’.

Then it dawned on me just how much the volunteers and kids put into things and highlighted that they do the same job every week (sometimes more), come rain or shine without getting bored. It may appear to others, as simply a group of people picking up rubbish, but it’s so much more than that.

NEAT van blank canvas for Environmentalists

Our new NEAT van is a blank canvas for the Environmentalists to come up with a design for

No picture or video could ever do justice to the amount of amazing work that I see every time I meet the group. It’s great to see different families mixing with each other, having fun, taking pride in their neighbourhood and working hard for the cause.

It really is phenomenal that this project has been running for over a year and that the same weekly activity can create so much happiness for people of all ages.

I also thought about the things we have on the horizon which made me realise just how much work the group will be involved in over the Summer months.

We’re still working in partnership with Maltby Crags School and plan to hold an appreciation assembly for the Environmentalists, which will also allow our very own Sustainability Manager, Gordon Watts to attend and spread his knowledge about nature and the environment.

I’m also thinking about another summer ‘thank you’ event, where we’ll asking the kids to help us come up with a design for our latest NEAT team van and getting them involved in our plans for a woodland walk next to the estate.

So there’s plenty to look forward to for us and the Environmentalists over the coming weeks and we’re all really excited to see where it goes!

James Smith,
Engagement Officer