Capital Clean-up – your questions answered

16 February 2015

Capital Clean-up is the Mayor’s partnership campaign to help Londoners get together to spruce up their city.

It’s part of his wider Team London volunteering programme and is supported by McDonald’s.

Who takes part in Capital Clean-up?

Lots of you – we hope! Last summer’s Capital Clean-up involved 3,533 volunteers. You can watch this film for a quick overview and see films about five Clean-up projects from last year. You’ll notice that all sorts of people take part in Capital Clean-up events from local residents to office workers nearby. Commonside Community Association told us that several passers-by stopped to ask them about the garden they were creating. People of all ages joined in too. There were projects to improve school gardens and playgrounds, as well as an ageing well garden project at Wimbledon Guild of Social Welfare.


What makes a good project?

Looking back at 2014, the types of clean-ups included:

  • Neglected spaces: several groups cleaned-up spaces that had become a ‘no-man’s land’. Sometimes this meant finding out who owned overgrown land – like the Radbourne Walk footpath in Ealing. Or realising the potential of a space that’s currently underused – for example Digging Haslmere created a new garden in a walkway (photo below). Capital Clean-up grants helped provide plants, trees and tools.
  • Community gardens and food growing: a number of projects involved clearing space to use for food growing, creating new gardens, or getting residents involved with their local green spaces. This included Sydenham Garden clearing an overgrown site in Lewisham and the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks in Greenwich bringing a disused part of the park back into use. Capital Clean-up grants funded new raised beds.
  • Art - murals, mosaics and posters: art was used in several projects as a way to get volunteers involved and spruce-up previously drab spaces. Eco-active Education worked with local children to create a huge mural at Daubeney Fields skate park in Hackney (photo above); Jubilee Primary School improved their entrance with planting, murals and mosaics (photo below); Friends of Blake Park ran an anti-litter poster campaign with winning designs brightening-up the playground. The Friends of Rise Park organised a Pavilion Pamper, prettifying a derelict pavilion with new murals.


  • Clearing litter: many Friends of Parks, Commons and Playing Fields groups join Capital Clean-up. Friends of Mitcham Common removed 25 bags of rubbish at their clean-up. Trust Thamesmead (top photo) ran three big litter picks and took away 100 bags of rubbish, plus car parts, shopping trolleys and broken electronic goods!
  • Learning and training: some projects had an educational part, often about the environment. Castlehaven Community Association ran a habitat workshop which had a biodiversity focus to improve their park. Green Corridor and Sydenham Gardens both used their sites to offer horticultural training and opportunities to young people, and those with mental and physical ill-health issues.
  • You decide: we always want to hear about new projects and ideas. There are many other great projects we’ve not mentioned here including cleaning-up high streets, sports pitches, residential streets and ponds! Just let us know what you’d like to do.

What type of things will we fund?

Capital Clean-up grants will mainly pay for the materials and equipment you need. These vary by project, but could include paint, plants, trees, timber, soil, wheelbarrows, spades, and even a boat! Any questions just email [email protected].

Why get involved?

When lots of volunteers get together it can make a big difference. Last year’s Capital Clean-up volunteers gave 8,864 hours of their time, collected 2,960 bags of rubbish and cleaned up 740,734m2 of London – that’s equivalent to 104 football pitches!


Read more about Capital Clean-up at The deadline for applications for Capital Clean-up grants and kits is 16 March 2015.

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