Action Stations – count down to the Games

3 weeks left until London 2012, help prepare the capital’s waterways for the world 

Photo opportunities:

Sunday July 8: With Ben Fogle and SAS team on Thames Foreshore, Barnes Bridge

Saturday July 14: Giant Rubbish Duck displayed at Regents Canal Festival (made with waste collected from BWCU2012 events), Mile End

Wednesday July 11: Big Balsam Bash – removing vast areas of this invasive non-native from Greenway outside Olympic Park to improve environment

More events listed below: 

Following months of community action to clean and green the capital’s waterways, Londoners are urged to get involved in final efforts to prepare the city for the world.

With just 3 weeks left until the London 2012 Games, volunteers of all ages are being called on to don willies and get stuck in to ensure the millions of visitors can enjoy the wide network of rivers and canals which characterise and frame our city.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “It’s fantastic that so many volunteers have pulled together to help make our rivers and canals sparkle for London’s summer like no other.
“The eyes of the world will be on the capital during the Games and thanks to this hard work, millions of people will be able to see our wonderful waterways at their best.”

Volunteers of all ages have already donated over 2000 hours of their time, removed over 950 black sacks of litter and 800m² of the damaging invasive weed Himalayan Balsam from the waterways of the Olympic Host Boroughs. They have planted 12 wildflower meadows and 80 trees along river and canal banks in a mass effort to ensure these vital spaces which surround and intersect the Olympic Host Boroughs are clean, accessible and ecologically improved for a lasting legacy for London.

It is estimated that by the end of the year, over 4000 Londoners will have volunteered for at least 2 hours as part of the campaign, improving over 30 miles of waterways, taking part in a varied and intensive schedule of events planned to continue into the legacy period.

Sebastian Coe, Chair London Organisation Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said: “We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change. The Inspire programme is recognising the work our partners all around the UK are doing to help us achieve this vision, just three weeks from the start of the Games. I congratulate everyone involved in the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 and wish you every success with your work.”

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is one of over 2,700 community projects enabled by LOCOG to inspire positive change.

Londoners have taken part in range of free, unique volunteering events including, canoe-based litter clean ups, wildflower meadows planting and invasive plant species removal days, building on extensive upgrades to East London’s canals.

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 was launched earlier this year in Hackney by Waterway Minister Richard Benyon. It has wide support from political, sporting and charitable groups and individuals, and is and being championed by Olympic rower and defending Gold champion Mark Hunter.

With additional funding coming from  Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 sponsor  Coca Cola  Great Britain, Katherine Symonds, Sustainable Games Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain said ”The Coca‑Cola Company has been continuously associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 – longer than any other corporate sponsor of the Olympic Movement. We want to use our sponsorship of London 2012 to leave a positive legacy for communities in Great Britain: helping to fund the Big Waterways Clean Up through the Coca-Cola Foundation is a natural extension of our existing support for Thames21 as part of everything we do around water stewardship.  It’s a fantastic way to help get London’s waterways ready for the Games and complements all the work we’ve been doing as a business to make sure London 2012 is our most sustainable Games ever.”

The campaign has been developed hand in hand with local communities and aims to allow as many people as possible to take part in and share in the green legacy of the London 2012 Games.

Thames21’s training programme, which will run alongside the programme, will ensure the sustainability of the campaign, by equipping volunteers who want to lead their own events with the skills, confidence and support to do so.

July Events
See for full details

For more information on the campaign and to sign up see: or contact Ben: 07920230970

All equipment provided by Thames21. All ages and abilities welcome. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Date Event
Saturday 7th July Hammersmith Bridge North Clean Up
Sunday 8th July Surfers Against Sewage Thames foreshore event with Ben Fogle
Tuesday 10th July Limehouse cut event
Wednesday 11th July Big Balsam Bash – Channelsea
Saturday 14th July 200th Anniversary regents clean up (Regents Canal Festival)
Tuesday 17th July 200th Anniversary regents clean up
Friday 20th July 200th Anniversary Regents clean up
Tuesday 24th July Canoe Clean up – Lea Navigation

Notes to editors:
Big W­­­­aterways Clean Up 2012 partnership
The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign delivered by environmental charity Thames21 under the aegis of the London Waterways Commission, with the support of Environment Agency, British Waterways, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Greater London Authority, London Legacy Development Corporation, Port of London Authority, Inland Waterways Association, The Coca Cola Foundation, London Councils and City of London Corporation.

Mark Hunter
Mark is a British Olympic squad rower and the reigning Olympic Champion in the lightweight men’s double scull. He was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his achievement.

Inspire programme
BWCU2012 is one of the outstanding projects granted the London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme, which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the London 2012 Games.

London Waterways Commission

The London Waterways Commission (LWC) has been established by the Mayor of London to advise the Mayor strategically on waterways issues and to support the implementation of the Blue Ribbon Network policies within the London Plan.

Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. It mobilises over 9000 volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400 mile network of waterways.

British Waterways
In 2012 the canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks cared for by British Waterways in England and Wales will transfer to the ownership of the Canal & River Trust.  This represents the next exciting chapter in the history of the waterways.  When launched, the Trust will be among the largest charities in the UK.  It will give people a greater role in the running of their local waterways, secure investment in the historic network and open up new sources of income.

London 2012 Changing Places programme
The London 2012 Changing Places programme has been created to secure environmental improvements for the communities that surround the Olympic Park and other Games venues.  The programme is coordinated by the London Organising Committee but works closely with over forty organisations to deliver a range of inspirational projects.  For further information about the programme and our partners please visit the London 2012 website:

The London Legacy Development Corporation
The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It will secure high-quality sustainable development and investment and ensure the long-term success of the facilities and assets within its direct control and supporting and promoting the aim of convergence.
It takes over responsibility for the Park from the Olympic Park Legacy Company, and additional powers including planning powers from October 2012 from the Olympic Delivery Authority and London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. For more information visit:

Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is an executive non departmental public body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Its principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. The Environment Agency’s involvement with projects such as the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is an example of its partnership work with other organisations to get a job done in priority locations such as East London, where the project is building on the environmental legacy work already achieved in preparation for the Olympic Games 2012.

Capital Clean Up is an annual partnership campaign co-ordinated by the Mayor of London to help rejuvenate neglected parts of the capital, and has already resulted in more than 1,000 community-led clean up events over the past five years.
Londoners can get involved by signing up to participate at one of the organised clean up events at

Inland Waterways Association
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

The Coca Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation is The Coca-Cola Company’s primary international philanthropic arm. Founded in 1984, the Foundation was established in the U.S. as a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Between 2002 and 2010, the Foundation gave a total of $273 million to create and support projects most relevant to local communities around the globe. We are committed to investing our time, expertise and resources to help develop and maintain vibrant, sustainable and local communities and concentrate our support in several priority areas including Water Stewardship, Healthy & Active Lifestyles, Community Recycling and Education.
Within Water Stewardship we support many projects worldwide which deliver access to clean water and sanitation, protect watersheds in water-stressed regions, and deliver education and awareness programmes that promote water conservation.

City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is a uniquely diverse organisation. It supports and promotes the City as the world leader in international finance and business services and provides local services and policing for those working in, living in and visiting the Square Mile. It also provides valued services to London and the nation.

Port of London Authority
The Port of London Authority covers 95 miles of the River Thames. It works to keep commercial and leisure users safe, protect and enhance the environment and promote the use of the river for trade and travel.

Rubbish Duck is a public sculpture made by two MA students from Central Saint Martins from plastic bottles collected from the Regent’s Canal and the Thames at Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 events. The sculpture will be displayed in the canal during Regent’s Canal Festival in July 2012. It will then be recycled by project sponsor ECO PLastics Ltd.

For further information, interviews or images, please contact Emily Braham 020 7213 0166/ 07827 352 675