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StreetKind campaign cleans up with kindness 

16 October 2023

VEOLIA AND Sheffield City Council are taking a stand to tackle unacceptable verbal and physical abuse that frontline colleagues face on a daily basis as they carry out their essential duties. 

In partnership, Veolia and Sheffield City Council provide the city with recycling and waste collection services. While executing these essential duties, frontline staff reported over 40 cases of abuse from the general public in 2022. Although most people treat frontline staff with respect and kindness, a surge in physical and verbal abuse has prompted both the council and Veolia to launch this campaign.


The campaign's primary focus is to support frontline teams by creating a safer working environment. It includes a comprehensive training program designed to help staff defuse volatile situations, handle incidents effectively, and understand when to involve the police.


As part of the campaign, a series of videos using actual 360° CCTV footage from collection vehicles have been created to shed light on the abuse experienced by frontline staff. In one scenario, a van can be seen mounting the pavement to drive around the vehicle while workers are emptying bins - putting both them and the public in danger. In another instance, a member of the public can be seen physically attacking a worker for not accepting extra waste.


Sheffield residents can actively support the campaign online by using the hashtag #StreetKind and by showing their appreciation to frontline teams in person with a smile and a wave as they go about their duties. These dedicated staff work tirelessly in all weather conditions to ensure efficient waste collection, contributing to a cleaner city, even though their essential work often goes unnoticed.


The StreetKind campaign will also focus on improving road safety and promoting safe behaviors around collection vehicles. Many incidents result from impatient drivers who do not allow workers to carry out their duties safely.


By coming together with Sheffield residents through the StreetKind campaign, the aim is to foster a caring and respectful community. 


Richard Hulland, Veolia’s chief risk & assurance officer, Northern Europe said: “I talk to our people on a regular basis and they are passionate about their work and their teams. No one should be abused simply for doing their job and we’re determined to combat this unacceptable trend. That’s why I was delighted to see our StreetKind campaign win at this year’s Awards for Excellence. 


“As well as appealing to the public to show their appreciation for our teams, our campaign focuses on training and support for our employees to respond to incidents. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our teams and will take the most serious action for the most serious attacks, including criminal prosecutions, in order to build a safer workplace environment for our colleagues.”


Cllr Joe Otten, chair of the Waste and Street Scene Committee at Sheffield City Council said: “Our workers do an excellent job every day and Streetkind encourages us to show even more appreciation for their efforts. We hope through this campaign we can reduce the abuse workers can sometimes receive while delivering critical services for our city and I’m proud to support it.”