2003 – the Bourne Stream Partnership (BSP) carried out a week’s
Yellow Fish drain stencilling activity to raise environmental awareness
amongst residents and business, i.e. surface water drains within a 12km2
catchment area lead straight to the stream and to the
Pier at Bournemouth’s main bathing beach.
project was funded in part by the Partnership, by some local sponsorship
(see DOs and DON’Ts below), and by the Environment Agency’s Oil Care
campaign. The total cost, including road safety equipment, publicity
materials, expenses (mainly petrol and phone costs), but excluding the
cost of yellow fish stencils and fliers for door-to-door distribution,
was just under £1,000.
backed by BSP partners, the project was organised and carried out by a
team of just two individuals; the Partnership’s Project Officer and
Rebecca Landman, a
placement student from Bournemouth University’s School of Conservation
started in May 2003, five months before the project date (22nd-27th
September – Yellow Fish week). However,
neither of the organisers was able to dedicate a full-time effort to it,
so this is probably longer than it might take under other circumstances.
BSP is planning further Yellow Fish drain stencilling projects in Spring
and Autumn 2004. It is
anticipated that these follow-up events will cost considerably less (the
purchase of road safety equipment was a large part of the initial budget
– nearly £500), and will be far easier to arrange now that we have
are familiar with the mechanics, and have groups of volunteers and other
individuals that we know to be active and interested.
should have sought out our volunteers earlier in the process; from this
we would have learned that activity during a normal working week is not
going to attract a lot of volunteers; we would have organised the
activity for a half term or other holiday period.
are pleased that we took advice on road safety, implemented it, and
recruited the (free) services of someone trained in road safety to
accompany us, especially when children were involved in the activity.
better planning, we could have taken more advantage of the enthusiastic
and interested reaction from the local press, radio and TV.
For 2004 we are doing more to build our contacts with the media.
copy of our risk assessment is available
and might be useful
generally, our advice to others planning a Yellow Fish project:
a route that follows the stream/river.
Count drains and set yourself an achievable target (e.g. in
6 days, 400 drains was fairly easily achieved by one team).
to avoid very busy roads – you should be using cones and road
signs, and it can annoy drivers; it’s also quite unsafe.
a particular weekend, week or other period of time for the
activity, and stick to it.
the weather when planning your activity!
stencilling on to wet roads, or if it’s windy; spray paint
can drift onto people, cars, etc
permission from your local Highways Dept.
Also, advise the emergency services of your timing and
route – they should be aware of what’s going on.
drain stencilling volunteer activity around weekends, half term
and other holidays. There
are many groups who simply can’t arrange the time during
and parents involved, they love it, and the kids get a good sense
of achievement from it.
simple Certificate of Achievement for children taking part.
CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) clearance if you are planning to
work with children.
written consent from parents/guardians if you plan to take
photographs of children.
rely on school groups to be able to carry out drain stencilling
activities or be allowed to distribute yellow ‘fishy fliers’
are safety implications to both that some LEAs and head teachers
aren’t comfortable with. Instead,
perhaps organise an after-school or half term/holiday activity and
get parents involved.
local businesses for some sponsorship, e.g. a letter saying
something like “£10.00 will buy a child’s high visibility
jacket, £50.00 will buy a road safety sign” – this gives
companies the option to spend just a little and still feel good
about it. Some will send more. It’s
also another way of communicating/reinforcing the Yellow Fish
expect large sums of money – companies are approached all the
time by various charities; some have a favourite that they donate
to exclusively and won’t be able to offer any help.
Other companies might offer to put together a team of
volunteers, rather than money.
out a risk assessment; it’s not as difficult as it might seem
insurance to cover your activity, or tie in with a Local Authority
community project (e.g. Make a Difference Day or similar) and you
should be covered by their insurance.
out a local ‘pilot’ to practice drain-stencilling skills –
perhaps on private land (e.g. local water company premises or Town
below for our tip for preparing and using stencils.
the press, TV and Radio know what you are doing in good time.
They will probably be enthusiastic.
Be prepared to arrange a ‘Press Day’ – possibly with
a team of youngsters – prior to your scheduled activity.
Newspapers might need a few days to get photos together for
publication, etc. and you might want local press coverage for your
to have fun, and to attract quite a bit of attention.
Tip for using stencils:
get hold of some boxes, A4 or larger.
Cut a rectangle in the bottom just larger than the fish symbol
and then fix the stencil to the bottom of the box (outside), taping
securely around all edges.
(using disposable gloves) with your hand inside the box – and don’t
overspray. Using the box
makes the stencil more ‘stable’ and prevents spray mist from
drifting on to people/property.