VOLUNTEER litter pickers are being rewarded for their loyalty with special treats.

The Wharfedale Wombles are a group of resident volunteers who care about the environment and the community of Burley-in-Wharfedale. The group, which is sponsored by The Burley-in-Wharfedale Community Trust, was set up four years ago by 15-year-old Alexander Hughes and his mother, Loraine Hughes.

They lead a variety of activities to keep the village litter free, and volunteers can chose to participate in events and activities to suit their schedules and capabilities.

Now Alexander has designed and developed The Wharfedale Wombles Treat Card to incentivise local young residents to regularly attend monthly community litter picks.Ilkley Gazette: Alexander Hughes presenting the Treat Card at its launch in MayAlexander Hughes presenting the Treat Card at its launch in May

The card was launched during the community litter pick in May this year, to coincide with the King’s Coronation and National Volunteers Day.

Those who have their ‘treat card’ fully punched – a punch for each time they participate in a community litter pick – four times get an ice cream at the Wharfedale Deli.

Eight-year-old Beau Kovacs has become the first young member of the Wharfedale Wombles to claim a free soft-serve ice cream with her validated, fully-punched Treat Card following attendance of four community litter picks.

Beau has been a regular and avid litter picker, attending the monthly community litter pick with her parents and dog.

Ilkley Gazette: Beau Kovacs with her validated fully-punched Treat CardBeau Kovacs with her validated fully-punched Treat Card

Community litter picks take place on the first Sunday of every month, starting at 10am for an hour from the Roundhouse in Grange Park. This social event allows participants to meet up and collect litter across the village. This monthly 'spring clean' has made a significant difference and the village is noticeably cleaner as a result of this.

Volunteers can also 'adopt an area' and take charge of an area or street to keep it litter free. A map - https://tinyurl.com/ryhfm9s3 - is maintained and shows areas that are adopted in green. If you live or walk near an area you’d like to take care of, get in touch.

Volunteers can also borrow litter pickers to use on their walks around the village and The Wharfedale Wombles also maintain a map - https://tinyurl.com/bdeyanef - showing all the local recycling options available in the general area.

The team also lead and work in partnership with local organisations and businesses to minimise and prevent litter, and to increase awareness on current and topical issues.

The next monthly community pick is which is this weekend, Sunday, November 5 at 10am at The Round House, Grange Park.

For more information email WharfedaleWombles@Outlook.com or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087271522006).

They welcome anyone who wants to join their efforts and make a positive difference in the village.