On Tuesday 22 September, Paddington colleagues set sail along the canal to clean up our local waterway for the Great British Spring Clean, rescheduled from March to September as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In partnership with Active360 and GoBoat, volunteers from Derwent London, Paddington Central, Vodafone, Tishman Speyer and Merchant Square took to the water in canoes, boats and on paddleboards, enjoying the scenery and glorious sunshine as they picked litter from the canal. Colleagues worked in teams in boats and canoes and tested their balance on paddleboards to contribute to cleaning up our local environment, helping to keep the canal free from plastic and other pollutants.
Volunteer safety is always our top priority and we worked hard to ensure this activity was thoroughly COVID-secure. Volunteers spent the morning in small groups of 4 – 6 participants, in which they were briefed in a broad open space before setting out on the water at staggered 15-minute intervals. Each volunteer was given an individual bottle of hand sanitiser and each group was provided with antibacterial wipes to clean all equipment after use. Participants had access to masks and gloves and a safe PPE disposal unit was set up. Boats, paddleboards and canoes were thoroughly cleaned before and after use and social distancing was maintained throughout.
Our Paddington volunteers returned to dry land with an impressive haul. They filled several buckets with the rubbish they pulled from the water, including two traffic cones, a children’s toy and corrugated roofing. Whilst the volunteers had an excellent time sailing down the canal with colleagues, their work also highlighted the severity of plastic pollution and littering in London’s waterways. Activities such as this enable Paddington colleagues to contribute to making the local area a cleaner, safer place for the community to enjoy, whilst raising awareness of the scale of the problem.
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our volunteers for working to clean up our canal, to GoBoat and Active360 for getting our colleagues safely on the water, and to Canal & River Trust for their guidance and support. If you feel inspired by the incredible work of our volunteers and would like to get your colleagues involved, do get in touch with our community team.