Mayor helps Londoners roll up their sleeves

03 February 2015

• Grants of between £500 and £1500 available to help communities get started

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is calling on Londoners to roll up their sleeves and volunteer for this year’s Capital Clean-up campaign. Groups such as community organisations, charities, small businesses and youth groups can now apply for £50,000 worth of grants and tool kits to tidy and brighten up their parks, streets, estates, residential areas and waterways. Grants of between £500 and £1,500 are available, or a special clean-up kit, to bring volunteers together and create cleaner, greener and safer local environments. The Mayor’s Capital Clean-up campaign, which has been led by City Hall since 2011, has already helped thousands of Londoners to get together and smarten up their neighbourhood. Last year over 3,500 volunteers took part in 222 Capital Clean-up events across 22 London boroughs in 9,000 hours of volunteering. They collected almost 3,000 bags of rubbish, transforming an area the size of 104 football pitches.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Capital Clean-up is about community action. What better way to get to know your neighbours than by rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty and working together to improve your local area? I hope more Londoners than ever before get involved in 2015 so that we can have a cleaner and more beautiful city for everyone to enjoy.”

With the long term support of McDonald’s UK, 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.

Howard Gray, Head of Sustainability at McDonald’s UK, said: “We support Capital Clean-up because we both understand that by revitalising a park, residential area or playing field you can do a huge amount to boost to local pride. Last year hundreds of our staff across London helped to organise, or took part in, over 50 clean-up events and enabled over 1700 volunteers to get involved. We’re proud that through Capital Clean-up we are able to help communities come together to organise similar events and help improve their city.”

The Mayor and McDonald’s UK aim to attract 10,000 ‘clean-up local champions’ volunteers by summer 2016. To apply for grants visit www.london.gov.uk/cleanup The deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 16 March 2015.

The Mayor wants to make London greener and has a range of programmes, as well as Capital Clean-up, that are dedicated to greening London.

The Pocket Park Programme will deliver 100 pocket parks across London by March 2015. Some 50 parks have already been completed, with another 50 due to be finished by March 2015.

The Mayor’s Street Trees Initiative will see 20,000 trees planted across London over two Mayoral terms.

Additionally, the Mayor's Big Green Fund is investing £2million in six large green space projects that collectively demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of investing in green infrastructure.

CASE STUDIES FROM CAPITAL CLEAN-UP 2014:

Greenwich - Capital Clean-up projects in 2014 covered the length and breadth of the capital, getting communities involved in regenerating local areas. In Greenwich, people from all walks of life came together to transform two dilapidated spaces into places for local people to grow their own food and learn about nature. Before Capital Clean-up, one space was an abandoned council nursery and the other a deserted, overgrown space contaminated by fly-tipping. Despite that, a local group saw potential in the two unsightly pieces of land and secured a Capital Clean-up grant in order to transform them into beautiful and practical sites. One is now a food growing area that is being used by local people to grow their own food and to teach young people about the value of growing organic produce. The other area is being prepared as a ‘Forest School’, an outdoor classroom, for local schools without their own green space to encourage children to learn through exploring nature.

Tim Anderson, Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks, said: “The highlight was seeing desk bound office workers and young people enjoying the physical work – clearing rubbish, moving compost and topsoil in wheelbarrows and building raised beds.”

Ealing - Across London in Ealing, a group of green fingered residents have made their area safer as well as more attractive. Radbourne Walk was a muddy short cut that had suffered years of neglect leading to the path becoming overgrown with weeds and invasive plants as well as a buildup of litter and graffiti. Many people felt unsafe using the path and it was known as a place for anti-social behaviour. Through a Capital Clean-up grant and kit, residents have succeeded in improving the aesthetic of the area and changing attitudes towards the use of the space. Now it is a safe haven for wildlife thanks to the creation of various habitats, including a loggery for endangered staghorn beetles, and there has been a reduction in antisocial behaviour.

Christina Fox, Ealing Dean Allotment Society, said: “We always knew that this should be a long-term project. But, now that we have made a start we have seen that the enthusiasm is there to keep the project going. We already have our planting plan ready for next year.”

Notes to editors

1. In 2014 there were 222 Capital Clean-up events involving a total of 3,533 volunteers contributing 8,864 volunteering hours. Volunteers cleared 2,960 bags of rubbish and improved an area of 740,734m2. 54 community groups received Capital Clean-up grants and/or kits, those groups involved an additional 109 partner organisations in their clean-ups.

2. McDonald’s staff organised 48 Capital Clean-up events involving a total of 1748 volunteers, including 983 McDonald’s employees. These figures are included in the Capital Clean-up totals in note 1.

3. Grants applicants must be a constituted group to be eligible. Applications for clean-up kits are open to any group or individual.

4. For more information about Capital Clean-up, including films, blogs and case studies, see www.london.gov.uk/cleanup

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