A NEW campaign urging residents and visitors to ‘Care for Christchurch’ has begun in a bid to improve the borough.

The scheme, which was launched in the town centre on Monday is a joint scheme that urges people to take home their litter, pick up after their dog, report graffiti and fly-tipping and shop at local venues.

With statistics showing it costs £175,000 of taxpayers money to deal with litter in Christchurch every year, the council says that money could be better spent elsewhere.

Much of the litter is found on major roads where expen-sive traffic-management measures are needed to collect it.

The campaign is also asking that people take their litter home with them so more can be recycled.

The focus on graffiti follows a spate of incidents last year where the perpetrators were found and made to clear it up, with schools also getting involved in the project.

Cllr Margaret Phipps, port-folio holder for the environment at Christchurch council, said: “Many people are already involved in help-ing keep their locality clean and we’re very grateful to them.

“We’re asking more people to ‘adopt a spot’ near them and take responsibility for keeping it clean and tidy.

“We can help by providing litter-pickers and sacks and arrange for rubbish to be collected and disposed of after a litter pick.”

The campaign is also asking residents to shop locally, to support local traders, especially with the new £1 for two hours parking rate.

Stephen Bowden, president of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “For Christchurch to thrive, we all need to do what we can to keep it attractive.

“The Care for Christchurch campaign is exactly what is needed.

“Keeping the borough clean and tidy makes it a pleasing place to visit and shopping locally provides vital support to our businesses.

“The Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce is very pleased to support this worthwhile project.”

The campaign is a joint project between Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset Waste Partnership, Christchurch Chamber of Trade & Commerce and Christchurch Police.

More details are available at dorsetforyou.com/care-for-christchurch.