A NEW scheme which offers free drinking water to people with reusable bottles is launching in Southend.

Southend BID (Business Improvement District) bosses have organised the new scheme to tackle the increasing amount of litter, pollution and general waste on the streets of Southend.

The campaign, ‘Refill’, will be hosting an event launch, which will offer shoppers the chance to discover the ‘stations’ where they will be able to top up their bottles with free tap water.

This will include a variety of businesses, including cafes, bars and restaurants. from across the town.

Southend BID manager, Alison Dewey, said: “This is a national idea that we’re bringing into the heart of Southend.

“I’m delighted to say that it has already been very popular, with Costa Coffee and Utopia in The Royals, already signed up, along with Vape and Juice, The Last Post and Molo Lounge also offering free water to their customers.

“There is also a free to download app that will tell users where the nearest location is for them to refill a bottle.”

She added: “The concept behind the scheme is not only to help protect the environment by reducing the use of disposable plastic, but also to encourage footfall into participating premises.

“This has proved to be successful across the UK, so I hope it will have a similar effect here in Southend.”

Essex & Suffolk Water is working with BID and Southend Borough Council to deliver the programme.

At the January 31 launch, residents will have the chance to win a ‘Refill’ bottle and other treats. The prizes will go to the first person who visits the stand and fills in a ‘Refill’ questionnaire.

A number of bottles, stickers, business cards and Visit Southend promotional guides will be available at the ‘Refill’ stand, which will be based at the Royals Shopping Centre, High Street, Southend.

The launch will be on January 31.