BEING environmentally friendly is still paying off for the Northwich community after 30 years.

Each year Northwich Town Council gives out £5,000 in a series of small grants and it all started when residents decided to stop being wasteful.

Clr Janet Illidge, chairman of the council’s small grants committee, said: “In 1983 the people of Northwich were quite concerned that we were being quite wasteful, things weren’t being recycled and things needed to change.

“The question of having a bottle bank was put to the then Vale Royal Distict Council who unfortunately turned it down, but the mayor at the time purchased our own bottle bank which we put outside Northwich Memorial Hall.

“Recycling of glass was so popular that they had to purchase a second one.

“The money raised from it was put in a separate charity account and given back to the people of Northwich.

“Now we put £5,000 in our budget each year and give it back to charities and the people of Northwich.”

A number of grants were given out to organisations and charities at the council’s December meeting.

Age UK was given money for activities at its Castle Community Centre and St Wilfrid’s Scouts, based in Northwich town centre, was given a grant for new equipment.

The Scouts explained that their group has grown from 26 young people to around 80 in the two years since it started.

A small grant was given to Cheshire Constabulary to help fund the Jingle Bells scheme, which provides free bell keyrings for shoppers to attach to their bags and purses to help prevent pickpockets.

Northwich Carnival Committee received a grant for its Northwich’s Got Talent competition which takes place in January.

Northwich and District Youth Centre was also given funding to help with a trip for young people aged between 13 and 25 with special educational needs.

Helen Davies, from the centre, explained what that money will mean to them.

She said: “At the centre we help to give them life skills, confidence and the chance to mix with other young people their own age.

“We’re going to take them on a Christmas trip to Liverpool – a lot of them have never been to Liverpool or been on a train or done anything that independent – they’re really excited about it.”