AN AWARD-winning community organisation in Newport faces having to shut up shop after what they have described as ever-changing council regulations.

Pride In Pill was set up in the city  back in 2014.

Since then, they have become well-known in Newport and beyond for their work picking up litter, feeding the homeless, providing Christmas presents to sick children and more.

They have even received an MBE from the late Queen and a coronation honour from the new King.

South Wales Argus: Pride in Pill

Now, however, they face having to negotiate council health and safety regulations which, they say, are stopping them from doing their good work.

Founder Paul Murphy explained that the issues with Newport City Council have "been going on in the background".

"It’s not just us, there are loads of environmental groups in Newport," he said.

"Some have said that they’ll be forced to disband.

"They don’t know how to navigate these rules."

Mr Murphy said that Pride in Pill were being "drip fed" the council regulations on a job-by-job basis.

"There is still not really a final version of these rules. It changes every time," he said.

This, he said, has made it difficult for Pride in Pill to organise any of their usual large scale litter picks.

"Nothing was ever set in stone," he said.

"They’re not saying we can’t do what we do, they’re just making it so difficult for us."

Despite the new regulations being largely to do with health and safety, Pride in Pill volunteers explained that they have all received training in this area - including dealing with dumped drugs paraphernalia called 'sharps'.

"We’ve never had one accident since we started. We’re sensible, we don’t just dive in," Mr Murphy said.

"We use other organisations’ expertise – NRW (Natural Resources Wales) for example have been fantastic."

South Wales Argus: Pride in Pill

He said that fly-tipping hotspots are where Pride in Pill "excel", but "that’s what they [the council] don’t want us doing anymore".

"That’s where they need us the most," he said.

"With the bins going out every three weeks, it’s going to get worse."

Pride in Pill is made up entirely of volunteers, who work out of the goodness of their hearts and "take pleasure in doing it".

"It’s great for your mental health too," Mr Murphy said.

"How are we supposed to tell our volunteers that they can’t do it anymore? It feels like a bereavement."

However, Pride in Pill say they will not take their situation lying down.

"The next step is a petition, maybe even a march," Mr Murphy said.

"We want to get the city behind us.

"We care about Newport. We want to make a difference."

Newport City Council have said in a statement that they "support volunteers and groups who wish to carry out litter picks on council owned or managed land that public has a right of entry" so long as "it is safe to do so".

"The council has an extended duty of care to protect volunteers from risks to their health and safety while conducting litter picks," a spokesperson said.

They say they work to "ensure that volunteer activity is coordinated and conducted within published health and safety guidelines" and that "full risk assessments are completed".

This, they say, is "a practice which we have required volunteer groups to follow for many years".

In terms of fly-tipping, rather than litter, the council say there are "separate policies and procedures".

"We would encourage anyone who sees any to report it to us through our online reporting service," they said.

This, they said, was to ensure a "full investigation" could be undertaken.

"Investigations of fly-tipping can be complex, and it can take many months to piece together evidence in order to carry out successful enforcement action," they said.