Genr8 Team Help Stoke BID Clear Up Hanley

Operation Sparkle 2024 (1)

On 12 April, the team from Genr8, who developed and oversee the Smithfield site, joined forces with Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and more than 20 other volunteers as part of a ‘Big Spring Clean’ of Stoke-on-Trent City Centre (Hanley).

The two-day cleanup forms part of the BID’s ‘Operation Sparkle’ initiative, introduced in 2021 with the aim to ensure the City Centre maintains a quality environment to attract visitors, shoppers, and ultimately new businesses to help the area flourish.

The Genr8 team began at Bethesda Gardens, just behind the Smithfield development, and armed with litter-pickers and bin bags, scoured the landscaped area to clear up hundreds of cigarette butts, bottles, crisp packets, and even an abandoned car tyre!

Throughout the course of the day, the team also covered the Bus Station, Lichfield Street, and Charles Street, removing items including a knife, broken bottles, and other detritus that could cause harm to the public. In total, the team gathered up over 340kg of waste, which would usually take the BID’s environmental ambassador, Al, a full month to clear.

Before and After

The BID and volunteers across the 12 and 13 April cleared almost a ton of waste, 300lbs more than collected during 2023. Other progress included 3 benches being painted and rejuvenated, with bright eye-catching colours.

Operation Sparkle isn’t solely one weekend worth of work, and takes considerable time, effort and resources to cover action zones. From cutting back overgrowth to installation of planters and greenery, from window wrapping disused shop frontages to investigating new ways of using green space, the initiative is a year-round task.

Lead BID Director for Place Management, Julie Davies OBE said:
“The BID is fully aware of issues in the city centre around cleaning and the look and feel of the area. We are committed to tackling these issues. We are confident that our collective efforts through Operation Sparkle will achieve our objectives in accordance with one of the businesses priorities.”

The initiative has garnered widespread interest and the BID are exploring further opportunities into summer and beyond, for those who wish to actively take part in the solution.

Following a successful campaign to clamp down on illegal dumping in our towns, residents, community groups and businesses are being asked to help with a final push to clean-up the city, as encouraged by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Until Sunday 21 April, The Big Spring Clean in the Community takes place with activities all over Stoke-on-Trent for people to get involved with. It follows the hard-hitting IDIOT (Illegal Dumping in Our Town) campaign to crack down on the number of illegal dumping incidents in the city. The campaign saw environmental services teams’ issue over 1,500 fixed penalty notices and clear 5,186 incidents of illegally dumped waste since January 2023.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement, and sustainability, said: “We are committed to tackling environmental crime in the city and return a strong sense of pride.

“I know from speaking with residents, you are all passionate about where you live, so let’s start with our own streets, our front door steps, or the alleyways that connect us to our neighbours. If you are able to pick up litter and help keep your local area clean, please do.

“Over 20 businesses, community groups, and resident associations pledged their support to make the city a cleaner, greener place during the ‘#LoveSOT’ community clean-up fortnight last year, let’s beat this!”

Residents who would like to plan a litter pick, or would like to discuss alternative projects should email: [email protected].

For more information on Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID’s Operation Operation Sparkle (


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