Spring clean or conservation action – or both?

Friday 1/03/24

Blog from Anna Feeney, LIFE Raft Communications Manager

The #BigSpringClean, running from 1 March to 30 April, has kicked off in NI! This campaign, Northern Ireland’s largest volunteer clean-up, just happens to coincide with when we’re asking everyone to join in the Spring Clean on Rathlin.

What’s a spring clean got to do with an eradication?

You can hear a quick overview of spring cleans and eradications in my chat with Michael Rafferty, LIFE Raft Fieldwork Manager:


But in short, putting items in boxes and lifting them off the ground gives rats fewer places to hide away and cache food. It also makes it ten times easier for our team to see scat or tracks.

Come September/October we will have a larger team to support with the rat eradication as there will be thousands of bait stations to check across the island. It’s going to be a herculean task – and we’ll need all the help we can get.

How can you help?

We’re asking for you to take a look at your property from the point of view of a rat. What is potential rat harbourage, and how can it be made less welcoming? We are not suggesting that anything needs to be thrown away. But could items be lifted off the floor with pallets, or boxed up on a shelf?

Charlie, Rauri or Tania will soon be getting in touch (if they haven’t already) to ask if they can talk this through with you and do a short walk with you around your property. This will be a friendly and respectful assessment of what we need to do to make Rathlin ready for the rat eradication project.

How can LIFE Raft help you?

Let us know what you need – we can’t promise that we’ll be able to take everything you might want removed, and we cannot take harmful substances, but we’ll see what we can do.

Do you need a van to take bulky items down to the skip, for example? Get in touch!

Could you use a plastic compost bin? We can get that to you.

Would storage boxes come in handy? We have big battery boxes generously donated from Wrightbus, and the company have said they’re very happy for people to pick more up from Ballymena. Just give Charlie a ring and she can put you in touch.

Fergus with some of the Wrightbus boxes

And if you need some extra pairs of hands, for whatever reason, we’ll see if we can get stuck in. We’ve already offered our support to the Tuesday Club, for example, and will be taking some of the Wrightbus boxes up to someone’s shed to lift items off the ground.

Taking part in Spring Clean on Rathlin is one way we can all contribute to making Rathlin pest-free.

Happy spring cleaning!


Featured image – Tania, Jordan and Charlie picking up storage boxes from Wrightbus