Annalize Senol is a bridalwear business owner and Cleanup Hub coordinator for Clean up Hastings. She has a passion for looking after the environment and keeping her community litter-free.

Annalize moved to the beautiful seaside town of Hastings 8 years ago, and instantly knew that litter was a problem. "I didn't want to live and run a business in a littered environment" she says. That's when the idea to set up 'Clean up Hastings' was born.

Starting with just herself and a bin bag, Annalize began litter picking around the town and beach. Curious passersby would often ask why she was litter picking, to which she would reply:  "Because I didn't want to wait around for someone else to do it!"  And that's how she has motivated a group of community volunteers to litter pick regularly alongside her. For six years, Clean up Hastings has been working incredibly hard to look after their town.

Annalize knows that ‘Litter creates litter'. With Hastings being a busy tourist destination in the summer, Annalize wanted more visitors to enjoy the town and more importantly, take any litter home with them.

Using positive messaging about waste management, and litter picking daily, Annalize's dedication has resulted in a noticeable reduction in litter. During her initial year of litter picking, she would routinely collect over 12 bags of litter weekly. Now, she finds herself only collecting one bag per week. "This proves that having a strong litter picking presence in the community motivates people to bin their rubbish!"

Clean up Hastings has evolved into an organisation that works to address the bigger picture - with a passion for wildlife, their environment, and the climate, they are undertaking numerous activities to improve their community, one of which is the 'Clean Up All Stations' initiative.

In a specific area of Hastings, an open-air train station has unfortunately become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, posing safety risks for the many children who rely on it daily for school and college commutes.

Despite efforts from various organisations to clear the area of litter, including the rail network and local landowners, the task remains a challenge. Residents are disheartened by the persistent accumulation of litter, ranging from anti-social paraphernalia, general litter to larger household items - including a kitchen sink!

Recognising the urgency of the situation, the Cleanup Hastings team are actively working to transform the train station into a safer and cleaner space. Their efforts include advocating for improved infrastructure such as increased street lighting and more waste bins. Additionally, Annalize is passionate about educating the younger generation on the environmental impact of littering, using innovative chalk stencils with messages like "Save our planet".

Annalize's passion for creating a better environment span across the ocean to South Africa, originally being her home, she has motivated multiple friends and family to create litter picking groups in her hometown. 'I regularly get messages and phone calls on ideas on how to motivate more people to litter pick, its great seeing all of the photos on social media of the wonderful difference they are making.”

When asked, why is it important to litter pick, Annalize responded, “Because it's better to be part of the solution than the problem”?

A year ago, Annalize took her dedication to the next level by joining forces with us as a Cleanup Hub, aiming to inspire even more locals in Hastings to take pride in their surroundings. If you're eager to support Annalize and Cleanup Hastings in their cause, you can borrow litter picking equipment for free. Just head over to The Clean Up Hasting profile to find out how to get in touch.