The Sudbury Society’s LoveSudbury initiative got off to a ‘positive start’ with the launch on Saturday at Sudbury on Show.
The Society is promoting voluntary community effort to help counter the negative effects of local authorities cuts.
Chairman Lorna Hoey is leading the movement to remedy ‘grubbiness’ caused by litter, bushes overhanging pavements, weeds growing in gutters and neglected patches of ground.
She said: “We want to tackle this by encouraging residents to take responsibility for their own patch by caring for the space around them as they would like to see it kept, rather than expecting someone else to come along and deal with it.”
Support at the launch was mostly positive with many offers of help. Among supporters were Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge.
“But there were critics too,” said Mrs Hoey. “We had claims that if volunteers did the work, full council services would never be resumed and that we would be taking people’s jobs.
“One asked if those taking part would get a cut in their rates and pessimists predicted we would never get the scheme off the ground.
“Our experience is that many people are already voluntarily doing what we are advocating and many more want to join in judging by the response to our LoveSudbury launch.
“The Society has committed to the scheme for a year and then we will evaluate the situation. If we do nothing our surroundings will deteriorate further and we will have to live with it.
“We will not be taking anyone’s job. Community Warden Bradley Smith is very supportive. He is so stretched he has welcomed the idea of volunteers doing tasks he is unable to undertake.”
The Society is setting up a website; lovesudbury.co.uk.