A Capital Clean-up of Willesden Green

This summer, 77 groups of Londoners are taking part in our annual Capital Clean-up. With events happening across the city, we hear from Deborah Mahs who led a high street clean up in Willesden Green last month...

Willesden Green has a real problem with fly tipping, dirty streets and shops and in one particular area rubbish and litter was really bad and it had become especially dirty, neglected and ugly.

We had been contacted by local residents asking what they could do to improve this situation and a local community member told us about the Capital Clean up grant and we decided to apply for support.

As chair of the Willesden Green Town Team, I was in a good position to drum up local support for the clean-up event.

We raised awareness using local media beforehand and approached local community groups. We also put up posters in local shops and talked to local businesses.

Finally, we approached Veolia, Brent Council’s recycling and waste contractor directly and as always they gave us good support and arrived on the day bringing gloves and brooms.

Our wonderful London Fire Brigade also turned up which was fantastic – they helped us clean the streets and brought us water and real-man power.

On the day of the clean-up, 4 July, 16 volunteers, of all ages, turned up to help. They litter picked, scrubbed the pavements and generally spruced up the area. We dubbed the event ‘Clean Willesden Green’.

We focused on one main junction area - at Dudden Hill Lane and the High Road by the bus garage (which is known as the dark side as a result of the state of neglect that it is in).

A local Italian Restaurant, Sanzios, made beautiful fresh pizzas for us all and sent them with a waiter on the tube one stop especially to feed us all.

Thanks to the time, enthusiasm and effort of the lovely Willesden Greeners, we really made a difference.

This was a really important community event for us. It connected us to the locals in that particular area and set an example for taking action instead of just complaining, which we always try to do.

We also loved the Clean-up pack we got from the Mayor’s Office and the Town Team still proudly use the hi-viz vests (they are very sought after!) and will use the litter pickers and gloves again at our next Clean Up.

The Capital Clean-up gave our campaign of action a higher profile and it was good to get that support. Through improved waste management and introduction of more public art we aim is uplift the community and cultural value of the area. Watch this space!

Find out more about Capital Clean-up

You can read more about Willesden Green Town Team on their Project Dirt page.

You can find your local Capital Clean-up group on our map. Events will be happening until mid-September, We’ll be featuring more great projects on this blog.

Capital Clean-up is part of the Mayor’s wider Team London volunteering programme and is supported by McDonald’s.