Mayor kick starts London’s spring clean with £50,000 for local events

12 May 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today launched hundreds of local clean-up events to help spruce up the capital for the summer, with £50,000 worth of grants and clean-up kits from City Hall.

Volunteers will be painting over graffiti, replanting flowerbeds and removing litter from London’s streets, green spaces, and waterways as part of the Mayor’s Capital Clean-up initiative. Resident and community groups, schools, and charities have received clean-up kits and grants of up to £1,500 each, the largest in the campaign’s eight year history.

The Mayor is urging all Londoners to take pride in their local area and get involved. Last year almost 3,000 volunteers took part in 102 events across 30 London boroughs.

Working in partnership with McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, this year’s clean-up has the potential to be the biggest yet, helping to make London an even better place to live, work and invest.

In Bexley, £1,000 and a clean-up kit is helping local community charity Trust Thamesmead to lead litter-picking events at a busy dual carriageway overpass, part of the 50 mile Green Chain Walk public footpath across south east London. Large stretches of the Regent’s Canal, through Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets, will be rejuvenated by volunteers trained in the safe use of canoes thanks to a City Hall grant of £1,200 and a clean-up kit. And in Merton, with more than £750 and a clean-up kit, young residents will help tidy up and plant bulbs at their community centre.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “These welcome ‘face lifts’ to some of London’s grubbier corners are enabling Londoners to help make their city a greener, smarter and even better place to be. So pick up a litter picker, draw a paint brush, roll up sleeves, work together, and help to rejuvenate our local neighbourhoods and make our city a place to be even prouder of.”

Alex Forrester, Community Development Officer at Trust Thamesmead, said: “We are very excited to start planning for our Capital Clean-up events where we will be able to invite and engage with more local people to get them involved in volunteering in the community. With support from City Hall, our volunteers can transform a busy overpass and create an attractive walkway the whole neighbourhood can be proud of.”

Richard Elkan, from the London Canal Volunteers, said: “London Canal Volunteers aim to clear litter from the city's canal network by boat, operating a clean-up twice a week, all year round thanks to funding provided by Capital Clean-up. With the support of the Canal and River Trust, we aim to make London's canals a cleaner environment that will make this valuable resource a more enjoyable experience for Londoners and London's wildlife.”

With the long term support of McDonald’s, Capital Clean-up aims to reach out to as many community groups as possible, providing the support they need to host clean-up events in their neighbourhoods. The Mayor and McDonald’s aim to attract 10,000 ‘clean up local champions’ volunteers by summer 2016.

Katie Parker, Head of Environment at McDonald’s UK said: “As a company we have been working hard to tackle litter on London’s streets for many years through daily litter picks and community clean-up events. We are delighted that this campaign gives Londoner’s the opportunity to come together and improve their local area. We will be holding our own events once again over the summer and hope that more people than ever will get involved to clean-up the capital.”

George Monck, Chief Executive of CleanupUK, said: “More and more people are realising the benefits and getting involved in keeping their community clean and tidy. After only an hour or two’s work, you can make new friends and strengthen community ties as you help create nicer-looking areas. So I take my hat off to Capital Clean-up - it's a really easy and enjoyable way of doing something that helps you and all the people who live in your community."

Last year’s clean-up events covered an area the size of 21 Wembley Stadiums. The thousands of volunteers collected more than 2,500 bags of rubbish, removed 91 tonnes of fly tipping, and planted 450 trees. 

Notes to editors

• Grants of between £500 and £1,500 were granted to constituted residents associations, community groups, schools, local councils and charities.

• Capital Clean-up Kits, contain all you need to hold a clean-up activity (10 x litter pickers, bags, hoops, high viz vests, information on how to run an event, £50 voucher for paint and plants).

• Capital Clean-up is the Mayor’s programme to encourage communities and boroughs to take action to tackle litter on Greater London’s streets, parks, and waterways and is part of the Mayor’s Team London initiative. For more information about this year’s Capital Clean-up, please visit 

• The campaign works in conjunction with Groundwork, Keep Britain Tidy, Thames 21, London Probation Services and London boroughs to deliver volunteer clean-ups across the capital.

• To find out what Capital Clean-up events are happening in your area please visit either Project Dirt ( or Team London ( Priority Area: “Greening and Cleaning”) to get involved

• McDonald’s is the chosen delivery partner for the Mayor’s Capital Clean-up Campaign and has been working hard since 1982 to reduce the amount of litter on Britain’s streets and was the first restaurant to introduce ‘Litter Patrols’ in the UK. McDonald’s employees already undertake three litter patrols every day in the streets, collecting any litter they see in and around the restaurants. There are 184 McDonald’s restaurants in London. For more information on initiatives McDonald’s already has in place for nationwide litter management visit: 

• Community spirited volunteers were one of the highlights of summer 2012. The Mayor wants to drive even more Londoners to do something great for their city by joining Team London and volunteering in their local community.

• For any questions about Capital Clean-up or to register your interest please contact Colin Graham at [email protected]