KIDS from a Halifax estate have proved that keeping toilets and sinks flowing is child’s play.
The youngsters were taking part in an exercise put on by an intern with Together Housing Group’s (THG) communications team, Poppy Beharall.
The aim was to raise awareness among residents that flushing things like wet-wipes and nappies down the toilet isn’t the convenient means of disposal it might at first appear.
These things don’t just “disappear down the u-bend and dissolve”, THG says: “they clump together and cause havoc in the sewers”.
“Not only can blocked pipes result in misery for tenants by flooding homes and gardens with sewage but many of these items end up in our rivers and on our beaches, which has far-reaching impacts on nature and the environment,” the organisation added.
According to THG it costs the organisation over £300,000 a year to unblock toilets and sinks; money it says could be better spent on improving services to tenants and building new homes.
When Beharall was tasked with getting this message out to residents, she turned to some of the residents’ children for help.
“Single use plastics such as those found in wet wipes and nappies is a very real threat to our environment and it is future generations that will suffer as a result,” Beharall said. “I felt like if the next generation are the ones putting that message out, parents and grandparents are more likely to sit up and take notice.”
But she admits she didn’t initially take to the task like a duck to water. “When I was first tasked with the idea of creating a video for our ‘Don’t be a Blocker’ campaign, I admit that I wasn’t eager to get started,” she added.
“I never expected there to be too much glamour in housing, but I couldn’t help but feel like blocked toilets and sinks was slightly scraping the barrel (or the toilet bowl) of my creative mind but I decided to go with the flow. Something had to be done to prevent us flushing even more money down the pan. It’s a serious subject, but it certainly didn’t need a serious approach.”
Armed with toilet humour and six volunteers aged 4-12, Beharall set about creating three videos: one to discourage residents from flushing wet wipes down the toilet, one to deter flushing nappies, and one to prevent residents from pouring oil and grease down the sink.
“The children were brilliant; real professionals even when we asked them to repeat a sentence for the 100th time,” she added. “They didn’t stop smiling all day. They all told me how much they loved doing the scene where they were getting out the van and how exciting it was to actually be in a real van. They also said that they loved dressing up in the hard hats and high visibility jackets and playing with the plunger.”
Main Image: The kids say Don’t Be A Blocker: Chantelle, 12, Olivia, 10, Mason, 9, Georgia, 8, Arianna, 5, Rosie, 4
Catch the videos
Oil and grease