ONE of the toughest aspects of lockdown for many people, particularly elderly or vulnerable residents, has been feelings of isolation.

The council set up a community hub to help vulnerable residents with things like shopping, collecting prescriptions, emergency food bank referrals, and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

We can put people in touch with organisations who can provide advice and support with keeping active and keeping in touch with others, so please go the Covid-19 section of the council website if you or a vulnerable person you know is in need of help.

I was pleased to hear from Martlets recently to tell me about their new “You are Never Alone” initiative. The new Martlets project is linking schools across our city to local care homes, in the hope of fostering a kinder, more connected community and to minimise social isolation and loneliness for elderly residents.

Children of all ages are being invited by their teachers, to create a letter, poem, piece of art or audio recording. This is then shared with a care home resident living nearby.

Each school chooses how best to introduce the project to their students and children of all ages can take part. A team of Martlets volunteers will be delivering the letters and messages to care homes, following strict guidelines to make sure these welcome deliveries are safe.

This is a really positive scheme to build community links across generations and counteract loneliness. It’s had lots of sign up and any interested schools or care homes can email for more information.

Meanwhile, Thursday June 25 marked an unwelcome milestone for Brighton and Hove. According to our beach cleaning staff, some of whom have worked with us for 15 years, we saw the largest amount of rubbish ever collected in a single day from our beaches.

The average collection at this time of year is about three tonnes. On the 25th, it was a staggering 11 tonnes.

Our staff start at 5am. On that day it took five hours for a team of six people to clear 600 metres of beach of the rubbish left behind. The city is having to cope with a daily tidal wave of people descending on the city’s parks and beaches, some of whom are leaving their rubbish behind them rather than walking a few extra metres to an empty bin or taking it home.

We’ve implemented a range of new measures to help tackle the constant battle of waste and rubbish being left on our beaches and in our parks every day. We’re erecting 40 large signs along the seafront calling on people to bin their rubbish properly or take it home – or face an on the spot penalty. We’ve started additional bin collections along the seafront and put in place more collections in larger parks throughout the day and weekends.

We’ve added 30 more large bins in heavily used areas including Hove Lawns and there are now about 400 bins along the seafront We have enforcement officers patrolling the beach an extra hour a day handing out £150 on the spot fines.

We have an extra truck to focus on collecting litter on the seafront, extra staff to clear litter on the seafront and in parks, and are having a recruitment drive for more staff.

All of these measures will go some way to address the litter issues we face as a city – but ultimately, people need to take responsibility for their own rubbish.

Anything left on the beach counts as littering. That includes cigarette butts, food, food packaging, cans, bottles, bags and anything else dropped or left behind. Sadly, waste that’s left on the beach can easily end up in the sea, which then pollutes our environment and destroys our marine life.

I highlighted on Facebook the hours that our staff had spent clearing the beach and got an incredible number of responses. Passionate opinions were expressed about the selfishness of litterbugs and some people suggested stronger deterrents, including one that we tattoo “slob” on the heads of litterers. A little over the top perhaps, but you get the strength of feeling! Some great ideas about how to discourage littering were shared as well and my thanks to everyone who engaged with that discussion.

We all love our parks and beaches and we all have a role to play to keep them clean for all of us to enjoy.

The council’s measures will go some way to address the litter issues we face – but that’s a huge amount of council resources going into something that we could be doing for ourselves. Shouldn’t people take responsibility for their own rubbish so the council could use those resources for something else instead?