Mayor invites Londoners to roll up their sleeves for a royal clean-up

22 January 2016

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is calling on Londoners to roll up their sleeves and join thousands of volunteers preparing to spruce up their local areas in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Grants are also now available for the Mayor’s 2016 Capital Clean-up scheme, where Londoners can apply for up to £1,500 plus special clean-up kits to brighten-up and rejuvenate their local areas. This year, the Mayor is also supporting a nationwide campaign, Clean for the Queen, in honour of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday by donating up to 100 clean-up kits containing litter pickers, gloves and rubbish bags for a special clean-up weekend in March.

Capital Clean-up, which has been led by the Mayor for five years and supported by McDonald’s, encourages Londoners do their bit and help transform neglected parts of the city. Last year the scheme saw a record 4,600 volunteers take part in events across London, collectively clocking up more than 17,000 hours of hard work cleaning up parks, streets, estates, residential areas and waterways.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “These small grants make a huge impact in helping local people transform neglected areas into much loved community spaces. I want to encourage everyone to sign up to Capital Clean-up and get together like-minded neighbours and friends to litter pick, plant, paint and tidy and really brighten local spaces. This year we have the extra incentive of making our city as beautiful as possible in honour of The Queen.”

Clean for The Queen’s special clean-up weekend on 4, 5 and 6 March is a grassroots community initiative which is supported by Keep Britain Tidy and a host of major businesses, charities, local authorities and schools with the aim of attracting one million volunteers. People can also sign up to take part in the Clean for the Queen event through Team London’s website.

Clean for The Queen campaign director, Adrian Evans said: “The Mayor’s commitment to our campaign is brilliant. London is the most beautiful city in the world and we want it to look its very best for the people who live here and for the millions of visitors who flock to the capital every year. This is a community inspired, grass-roots mass action event – one that will become a recurring annual initiative. We feel that marking The Queen’s 90th birthday with the inaugural clean-up is a wonderful way to kick-start it to life.

"We want to show that millions of people in the country care passionately about the litter affecting the nation and are prepared to get out and do something about it. Everyone in this country will reap the benefits.”

It will be easier than ever to take part in the Mayor’s Capital Clean-up thanks to Team London’s free speed volunteering app, which was launched by the Mayor earlier this month. The first of its kind in the country, the app will display clean-up events across the capital allowing Londoners to find volunteering opportunities near them.

An extra 1,000 volunteers gave up their time to participate in a Capital Clean-up event in 2015 compared to the previous year, and the number of hours contributed by volunteers doubled.

Head of Sustainability at McDonald’s UK, Howard Gray said: “As a company we understand the importance of having a clean and sustainable local environment. Every year, our franchisees and restaurants organise hundreds of community revitalisation projects across the country and dozens across Greater London. We are proud to support both Capital Clean-up and enable thousands of Londoners volunteer to help make their city a cleaner and greener place to live.”

In Kingston, more than 41 volunteers from the Union of Kingston Students used their Capital Clean-up kit to remove 3.8 tonnes of rubbish from 130m² of the River Thames in Kingston, including 11 trollies. By highlighting amount of rubbish beneath the surface of the Thames the project aims to deter dumping into the river.

Sarah Dutton, Volunteering Project Design and Development Coordinator at Union of Kingston Students said: “It was exciting to have Capital Clean-up on board, helping to support us in becoming independently sustainable, which will allow for the project to grow and continue.”

Last summer the Mayor visited the Marcus Garvey Park community group in Hammersmith & Fulham, who used their funding to revamp a communal park blighted by graffiti and anti-social behaviour, and created a colourful wall mural to make the area more appealing. Volunteers and children from local schools undertook the cleaning, scouring and painting of the walls over five events.

Sean Adamson, Chairman of the Friends of Marcus Garvey Park community group said: “Because of anti-social behaviour and rubbish dumping, we have been working on a project to revitalise Marcus Garvey Park and bring it back into community use.”

“We’re now cleaning up the park and as it’s in between two schools, we have painted a mural on the wall to make it a nice focal point, making it a much nicer, safer, environment for everyone, especially young people, to enjoy.”

Notes to editors

The deadline for applications for this year’s Capital Clean-up is Monday 14 March at 17.00. To apply for grants visit www.london.gov.uk/cleanup.

To take part in Clean for The Queen, go to www.cleanforthequeen.co.uk where you’ll find advice and tips about how to join a group. All London groups will be contacted to see if they want a free clean-up kit from the Mayor. Groups must respond to the Clean for the Queen Team by the 18th Feb at the latest.

Pictures are available on request.

  1. In 2015, there were 231 Capital Clean-up events involving a total of 4,600 volunteers contributing 17,000 hours. Volunteers cleared 315 tonnes of waste and improved an area of 830,000m2.
  2. Applicants must be a constituted group to be eligible. Applications for the clean-up kits are open to any group or individual.
  3. For more information about Capital Clean-up, including films, blogs and case studies, go to www.london.gov.uk/cleanup.
  4. Keep Britain Tidy - Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. We inspire people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. We run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit www.keepbritaintidy.org.
  5. The Team London speed volunteering app can be downloaded from the iTunes app store by searching for ‘Team London’. The app will be available on android soon. To find out more about speed volunteering, visit https://speedvolunteer.london.gov.uk/
  6. The Team London programme is seeking to build a volunteering legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by encouraging Londoners to do something great for their city.