VOLUNTEERS from Southern Co-op and Somerset Wildlife Trust collected more than 13kg of rubbish when they deep cleaned two Somerset beaches.

Berrow and Brean Beaches were the second of five to be overhauled as Southern Co-op has planned a series of beach cleans across the south as part of Co-operatives Fortnight.

The national awareness fortnight aims to show how people can achieve more together than they can in isolation and highlights how each person’s contribution, however small, helps towards achieving a bigger overall goal and a greater change for good.

On June 28 members of Southern Co-op grabbed their litter pickers, scoured the beaches for rubbish and collected five bags of rubbish which weighed 13.8kgs.

Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications at Southern Co-op, said: “We always try and do something during Co-operatives Fortnight which makes a difference in our local community as well as promoting working co-operatively.

“We wanted to get involved in marine conversation and combat issues around plastics. There have been a lot of local concerns about rubbish along our shore lines so we thought this opportunity was perfect.

“It was a hot day but everyone battled on and collected everything from cigarette butts and lighters to sweet packets and a syringe. There was even mesh left behind and old barbecues.

“We encourage our colleagues to volunteer throughout the year and are very proud of everyone who took part this fortnight to make a difference to our local beach. We will also continue to raise awareness of the need to responsibly use and dispose of plastic items which will help to keep our beaches clean in the future.”

Southern Co-op is teaming up with wildlife trusts and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England(CPRE) to give staff and Co-op members the opportunity to get involved in protecting local wildlife and countryside.

A spokesman for Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “At this time of year, and in this weather, being on the beach is a fantastic way to boost our health and wellbeing, and gives us the chance to appreciate the brilliant wildlife that can be seen on our coastline.

"Seeing litter and rubbish on the beaches however can have the opposite effect, and can also have grave consequences for our bird and marine life.

“As well as not littering to begin with, we also all need to take responsibility for caring for our coast, and keeping these habitats clean and healthy for people and wildlife, so it is absolutely amazing that the Southern Co-op team has come together to do the beach clean to help do that.”