Leithers Don't Litter: Q&A with Yule Fest's charity partners

Sponsored post in partnership with Yule Fest

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Yule Fest - a festive celebration of food and drink in Leith - is not only an opportunity to indulge in Christmas cocktails, it’s also a great chance to support local charities.

Proceeds from sales of the Yule Fest festival passes will go towards two Leith-based charities: Leithers Don’t Litter and Hidden Door. If you haven’t picked up a pass yet, there’s still plenty of time as the festival runs until the 5th January.

We caught up with Zsuzsa Farrell, who runs Leithers Don’t Litter with husband Gerry, to find out more about their mission to clean up Leith. By day they’re both advertising professionals, and in their spare time they campaign to make Leith a better, cleaner place.

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Can you explain what Leithers Don’t Litter is all about?    

We’re a couple of volunteers (and also partners in life) and we’re dedicated to making Leith a litter-free neighbourhood. We have over 2770 followers on Facebook. We’d like to turn “clicktivists” into activists: our Adopt-A-Street pledge has been signed by nearly 200 people so far and some local businesses joined too.

But we do more than just litterpicks. Because we’re advertising professionals we believe in the power of great communication and we run our own campaigns to help change people’s attitudes and behaviour. You can check them out on our website. The latest one is called Pukemons aimed at kids and parents, and it uses augmented reality to reveal five little characters hidden on our posters we put up in eight Leith play parks. Boaki, Yukki, Sicki, Slimi and Ikki have a very strong reaction to litter (the clue is in the name).

Why do you think it’s so important to take care of your local area?

You want to love where you live. But it’s hard to be proud of your neighbourhood when the streets are covered with litter, dog poo and dumped mattresses. And cleaner streets are safer streets too. Mess on the pavements and parks attracts anti-social behaviour and crime. So, our name “Leithers Don’t Litter” is an aspiration.

When I visited Leith Walk Primary a few months ago I asked them if they thought it was true that Leithers didn’t litter. “No,” they said. So I asked them why did they think we call ourselves Leithers Don’t Litter. A wee girl from Primary 3 responded: “Because you don’t want them to litter.” She got it. I hope more and more adults will also get it.

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas in Leith?

The thing I love the most about Christmas in Leith is the same thing I love all year round: it’s the colourful mix of its fantastic people. The kindness, the community spirit and the great sense of humour of its citizens makes Leith a great place to live. The festive lights and buzzing bars just add more joy to this. How can you not like a sign for example I spotted on a frosty morning on The Roseleaf’s outdoor blackboard next to the entrance. It had two arrows, one pointing outside saying “Cold” and the other pointing inside saying “Warm”.

Which Yule Fest cocktails are you looking forward to sampling this winter?

We’ll have to try them all before we can pick a favourite. Anything with chocolate is hard to resist for me. My husband Gerry prefers gin, vodka and whisky based cocktails. But we’re open to new flavours.

I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything with Lingonberry syrup so I’ll definitely try The Crackling Fire at the Victoria Bar. The Merry Angel and Jack Frost both look so festive so I think we’ll have to make a pub crawl from the Malmaison all the way up to Joseph Pearce.

What’s next for Leithers Don’t Litter in 2019?

We’d like to continue our Adopt-A-Street campaign because the more people sign up, the cleaner Leith will be. With Yule Fest’s kind support, we’ll hopefully be able to expand the Pukemon campaign and give it more visibility. We have lots of other ideas. We just need to find enough funding to carry them out.

To find out more about Leithers Don’t Litter, visit leithersdontlitter.org

To purchase Yule Fest passes, visit yulefestleith.com