Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) makes annual awards of “Green Flags” to clubs who have put in excellent work to improve the environment. Great work here from FOCCRs, who have a huge beach cleaning commitment and have a social and environmental coordinator on their club committee.

John McFarlane is the Social and Environmental co-ordinator for the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing club (FOCCRS). As you can see from the title, FOCCRS have a dedicated Environmental co-ordinator on their committee! John also sits on the local Environmental sub group of the Community Council as a representative of the FOCCRS. That subgroup consists of other local groups and the local council who work together co-cooperatively to make as big a difference as possible.

Although the club have carried out numerous initiatives over the past few years this is the first time that they have applied for a green flag award and have set out what they have been doing in 2019. John explains:

“The main focus is of course on Beach cleaning and our wonderful marine environment and we do this under the umbrella of both “Keep Scotland Beautiful” (the government organisation – who supply tabards and loads of helpful information and advice) and the Marine Conservation Society (very important as they provide the public liability cover for beach cleans). We have two beaches which we regularly survey for the Marine Conservation society (MCS) and submit reports. North Ayrshire council supply pickers, bags and gloves and take the collected rubbish away at the end of the clean.”

FOCCRS working together on 7 April
FOCCRS with Bags Ready for Collection 7 April 2019

“On 7th April this year we arranged a beach clean and were joined by our partners and the local SNP MP Patricia Gibson, who was keen to get involved. Approx. 80 bags of rubbish were collected.”

More Bags Filled on 24 June 2019

“On 24th June we helped organise a beach clean with the “Kiko plastics UK tour”. Kiko Mathews is the women’s world trans-atlantic rowing record holder, having rowed across the Atlantic single handed after a life threatening illness. On this occasion she was cycling round the UK coastline taking part in Beach cleans to raise awareness of the horrendous plastic problem facing out marine environment.”

FOCCRS on 21 July 2019

“On 21st July we again took part in a beach clean with our partners from the Largs environmental group. Approx. 40 bags of rubbish were collected. A further beach clean was held on 22nd Sept and is part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful “clean up Scotland” campaign.”

“As a club we are proud to work with our partners in making our wee bit of the world a cleaner and greener place.”

Source: SCRA website