Growing together – in lots of different ways!

There’s a growing theme to this week’s blog post, so it’s only right to start with a mention for our very own Council Gardener.

The video blog series is now in its third month and Daniel Shand is already attracting quite a following. If you haven’t caught up on June instalment yet, there are two parts available to view now.

Daniel’s doing a great job of showcasing the knowledge and skill we have within the Council, with apprentice James Graham sharing some tips in the latest video, and it’s a fantastic way of engaging with viewers and passing on expert advice.

We often talk about the need to grow the sense of civic pride in the city and the Council Gardener is just one of the many ways we’re doing that.

On Thursday the annual Glitter Pick showed that spirit in action – with 24 clean-ups in 24 locations over the course of 24-hours in Aberdeen.

Thanks to Steven Shaw and his team for coordinating such a massive operation as well as to all of those who volunteered to take part. There were more than 30 groups involved and it’s brilliant to see everyone working together as part of the wider aims of the Clean Up Aberdeen initiative.

As a Council we spend more than £4million a year on clearing litter alone – that is money that could be put to use in other areas if we can keep working in partnership to change habits and keep our streets and open spaces clear.

We’re fortunate in Aberdeen that our young people are driving that change, something that has been recognised nationally.

Earlier in the month pupils and teachers from Hanover Street School travelled to London to be crowned UK champions of the Better Energy School Awards. It’s a huge honour for all those involved and my congratulations go to head teacher Alan Markey and teacher Elizabeth Elrick as well as all of the pupils in the group, who I know are very proud of the achievement.

The project went under the banner HSS Flying Eco Pigs Change the World! – and not surprisingly captured the imagination of judges.

Pupils learned about a range of environmental issues, from single use plastics to problems posed by discarded chewing gum on the streets of Aberdeen, and set about tackling them.

They created papier-mache pigs with eco messages on their wings that were awarded to local shopkeepers, cafe and bar owners who agreed to stop providing plastic single use items.

I’m told the Eco Pigs went far and wide – even reaching Sir David Attenborough, who sent a personal letter of thanks for the work Hanover Street is doing to protect the environment.

Young people are growing up with a better understanding of the issues the world is facing and a real passion to make positive changes – it’s fantastic that is being rewarded.