After many months of virtual volunteering throughout the pandemic, on 7 and 8 June The Paddington Partnership returned to in-person activities with our flagship annual Canal Clean-Up event. Paddington volunteers came back together in the glorious sunshine, with teams heading out on GoBoats, canoes and paddleboards, sailing along the canal and picking plastic waste and pollution from the water to contribute to the Great British Spring Clean. We were delighted to be joined by 78 volunteers over two days, with colleagues from Vodafone, Paddington Central, Merchant Square, Derwent London, CC Land, Tishman Speyer and companies throughout The Point building rolling up their sleeves to get involved.
After over a year of home working, the atmosphere was fantastic as colleagues were excited to safely meet again outdoors. The activity was an excellent opportunity not only to contribute to clearing up our local natural environment, but to once again work together as a team away from screens and the distractions of home life.
Volunteer safety is our top priority and we worked hard to ensure this activity was Covid-secure. Volunteers were briefed in staggered groups in broad open spaces and hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes, masks and gloves were made available to all participants.
Our Paddington volunteers returned to dry land with some interesting items they’d found beneath the canal’s surface! They filled several buckets with the rubbish they pulled from the water and hauled back some less portable items, including a shopping trolley, bicycle and car tyres. Whilst the volunteers had an excellent time sailing down the canal newly reunited with colleagues, their work also highlighted the severity of plastic pollution and littering in London’s waterways. This work helps to maintain the canal as a welcome area of calm and provides open space for the community to enjoy – an increasingly vital asset in a time when many Londoners have found themselves feeling isolated at home during the pandemic.
As restrictions ease further, we’re excited to move forward with a blended approach to our Community Programme, offering both practical, in-person volunteering opportunities and continuing to develop our popular virtual activities, ensuring we meet the needs of the community whilst enabling as many Paddington Partnership volunteers as possible to use their skills and donate their time to volunteering activities.
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.