Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage was initially established in 1990 by a group of passionate surfers to raise awareness of raw sewage that was being emitted onto UK beaches. The success of their campaign inspired the charity to broaden its remit and now this marine conservation and campaigning charity focuses on major environmental issues that impact our coastlines including climate change, water quality, coastal development and plastic pollution.

The Trustees of the Foundation have a history of supporting organisations that help communities to help themselves and this approach is at the heart of Surfers Against Sewage’s work – they have developed a community of over 300,000 people who are committed to taking action. The charity coordinates 2,000 beach cleans annually and mobilises up to 75,000 volunteers to remove over 100 tonnes of plastic pollution from the UK’s beaches.

Plastic is accumulating in the world’s oceans at an alarming rate with approximately 8 million tons swept into the world’s oceans and seas a year.  Reducing the use of throwaway plastics and clearing up what plastic has already been discarded is a key priority for the charity. Combined with campaigning, they manage a practical programme that engages local activists to work with their local businesses and councils to gain a plastic free status, led by a Regional Representative Volunteer. Growing this action-led, local programme is a major focus for the charity and as such the Foundation was happy to accept an application for a three-year grant to underpin its work.

“The generous support from the Garfield Weston Foundation will allow us to recruit, train and equip our incredible network of Regional Representative Volunteers. We currently have over 170 Regional Representatives in communities throughout the UK and will increase this to 250 by 2020. This passionate network of volunteers acts as a hub for local communities to care for their local coastal & inland environment. Multi-year funding allows us to develop this vital project in a strategic and sustainable way.”  Peter Lewis, Director of Fundraising & Operations.