Community group volunteer, Kyle Dodd, 34, is helping other volunteers to record local footpaths and keep Wythenshawe’s recreational spaces neat and tidy through the development of a homemade app.
The group, the Wythenshawe Waste Warriors, have been cleaning up the region’s parks, wooded areas and green spaces since they were founded in 2018.
Now, thanks to Kyle’s mobile application being launched, the eco-change makers are excited about expanding their reach, allowing for more people to become volunteers and record the region’s lost history.
“As I work in IT, it got me thinking, is there anything else I can do to support? So, during the most recent lockdown I ended up developing an app. At first, this was very much for anyone to log in and report graffiti, broken bollards and glass on the floor. Since then, it’s really grown arms and legs and we’ve started to record where long-lost footpaths have been buried underneath grass and not maintained.”
Kyle and the other Warriors, led by founder and Chair, John Paul Coe, referred to historical maps to see how much of the past they had uncovered.
The greenway is still being dug out and maintained by famous volunteers in the group, such as ‘Undercover Dave’ and the local MP Mike Kane.
Thanks to a tremendous team effort, they, and some of the Warriors, have dug out various paths along ‘The Manchester Green Trail’, a walking circuit made of the many different routes that connects many of the region’s parks, woodlands and open spaces.
The volunteers have it on good authority that some of these paths near to Mill Pond Fields, Blackcarr Woods and Crowland Hill, to name a few, haven’t been uncovered fully for decades.
Following the exciting discoveries, Kyle has since turned his attention to creating a live mapping system.
The visual map, which works similarly to using Google Maps, will not only signpost hazards, such as fly tipping hot spots and overgrown spaces, but reveal where the lost paths can be accessed.
[Images of the mapping system available upon request]
To secure additional investment for maintaining and running the app, Kyle reached out to his place of work, Fletchers Solicitors, who are currently running a ‘CSR funding’ initiative to support great causes across the North West.
“I was chomping at the bit to see if we could get some help and I’m delighted to have secured it. With the app, there are hosting costs that I originally donated. However, the company have been really kind and said they will happily help with these digital costs. The company have been great and that’s ultimately helping to keep improving the app, as well as fund essential volunteering equipment. It’s really been phenomenal. I’m over the moon with it. We struggle for funding at the best of times, and the average cost of a litter picker with a hoop is around £14.”
Chairperson, John-Paul Coe added:
“I’d like to echo these sentiments as chairman of Wythenshawe Waste Warriors. These kind gestures by Fletchers Solicitors will enable their colleague Kyle to continue the important work of signposting our fellow residents and groups to the relevant organisational support. This app will help people to work safely, to volunteer with likeminded people and to make a difference. We are very proud to partner Kyle and his employers and are excited about today’s app launch and future work with both. What a team!”
As for the future, Kyle is hopeful of uncovering more of the many treasures buried away in the region’s greenery.
The IT technician concluded:
“The overall aim is to repair all the paths we can in the region. Before I started working with the Warriors, I wasn’t, by any means, a green person. When you’re forced to stop in lockdown and open your eyes, you then realise what’s going on around you. It’s definitely changed me, and I definitely think for the better.”
You can follow the work being carried out by Kyle and the Wythenshawe Waste Warriors by visiting: https://wythenshawewastewarriors.co.uk/wp/
Download the Waste Warrior app to your Apple or Android device by heading to: https://4570303.igen.app
Kyle Dodd is a Systems Customer Service Technician at Fletchers Solicitors