Local schoolchildren are helping a Cornish holiday park to step up its war on the scourge of plastic waste polluting Cornwall’s seas and beaches.
Family-owned Hendra Holiday Park has teamed up with environmental children’s author Ellie Jackson to inspire youngsters to help turn the tide on ocean plastics.
Ellie, who lives in Looe, has written a series of children’s books on the subject which have drawn praise from Sir David Attenborough and Prince Charles.
Under the collective title of Wild Tribe Heroes, they tell the true stories of well-loved animals which encounter ocean plastics, and are rescued with the help of people.
Now, with the aid of funding from Hendra Holiday Park, the charmingly illustrated books are reaching a wider audience of primary school pupils around the Newquay area.
Ellie and Hendra hope that, like other schools, the children will be encouraged to take actions such as organising their own beach cleans or litter picks, and setting up recycling at school.
But the holiday park also plans this year to harness the help of its younger and grown-up holiday guests to help beat the plastic menace on Cornwall’s shores.
Among its new initiatives is a collaboration with Tidal Revival which urges families to download a recently launched beach clean app.
Developed by two keen surfers who live in Newquay, Andy Nions and Rob Martindale, it’s claimed to be the world’s first app that rewards users for cleaning beaches and rivers.
Users record how much plastic and litter they have picked up, add a photo of it, and can then use the resulting reward points to gain discounts in participating retailers and food outlets.
These include Hendra Holiday Park, and director Jon Hyatt says that the app is already proving popular with visiting families:
“In summer we often have up to three thousand guests staying every night, so there is a fantastic potential for us to mobilise and motivate a whole army of beach cleaners!” he said.
“The May and Hyatt families have owned Hendra for almost fifty years, and we have all witnessed what harm plastics and other waste can cause to this beautiful environment and its wildlife.
“That’s why we’re especially keen to educate children, and to motivate them into taking action and making a difference for the sake of future generations,” added Jon.
A raft of other green initiatives have helped Hendra Holiday Park win a series of conservation and sustainability awards over the years.
The park generates 70% of its own energy from a ten-acre “sunpower meadow” which contains over 6,000 high-tech solar panels, drastically reducing its carbon footprint.
Hendra also heats its indoor and outdoor swimming pools, plus showers and changing rooms, with biomass boilers which are fuelled by locally sourced wood chips.
The park additionally operates a “freecycle” facility where guests can leave their unwanted buckets, spades and other beach items for newly-arriving families, rather than throwing them away.