ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners are celebrating winning plastic-free accreditation for their community.

Plastic Free Pickmere set up a steering group in March, since when it has been working towards gaining accreditation.

“Only one other community in Cheshire has this accolade to date, so we are feeling very pleased with ourselves,” said Helen Shaul, community leader for Plastic Free Pickmere.

To apply for accreditation a community needs to register with Surfers Against Sewage, whose chief executive congratulated the group on its efforts.

In his letter to Helen and the team Hugo Tagholm said: “Congratulations on achieving SAS Plastic Free Communities status for Pickmere.

“You have made an incredible contribution, leading the change away from unnecessary single-use plastics and joining a network of Plastic Free Communities across the UK.

“You can use this award as a springboard to bring on board more businesses and individuals.”

Helen added: “This accreditation follows months of work from our dedicated steering group, so a big thank you goes to them.

“We couldn't have achieved this without the support of our amazing local businesses, in particular The Clinical Trial Company, Proactive Gas Safety, Pickmere Country House and Oakmere Motor Group.

“These forward-thinking businesses have all received our Community Champion award for their commitment to reducing their plastic footprint.

“Every one of them has gone far beyond the requirements for this award and we have been incredibly impressed by the number of changes they have made.

“We also have great support from our local groups, including the fabulous Women's Institute, and the Community Group - both of which will run their meetings and events with as little plastic as possible.

“Pickmere Parish Council has given us full backing and has resolved to clear as much single-use plastic from both premises - the Village Hall and the Pavilion - as they can and to fully support all of our plastic free ventures.

“We know you wouldn't expect us to rest on our laurels, so we will continue to work to reduce Pickmere's plastic footprint even further and to bring more businesses on board.

“We hope that you are all as excited as we are about this award and that you will all continue to support us by minimising your plastic use at home.

“We set ourselves an ambitious target from the start and we achieved it with a month to spare.

“Applying for accreditation entailed sending evidence that all objectives had been met, including spreadsheets, photographs and minutes of meetings.

“We heard back that we had achieved our goal, which in practical terms means we get a certificate and a logo which all of our businesses and our parish council can use on headed letter paper and websites.

“The steering group will continue to work to reduce plastic in the community.”