In preparation for the upcoming royal wedding, Londoners from all walks of life are being enlisted in the effort to make it a truly wondrous occasion. One group of reluctant participants, helping with the cleaning of London, are those who are part of the Community Payback Scheme, offenders convicted of minor crimes, who are working off their sentences doing community work.
They are busy scouring walls and cleaning up the grime in the Hyde Park Corner tube station and nearby subway tunnels near Buckingham Palace and along the wedding route, in anticipation of the many visitors who will be moving through the area as part of the wedding festivities.
Ravi Kumar, the Westminster Council’s street warden for Knightsbridge and Belgravia, helped organise the effort after personally going down into a subway tunnel with some water and wire sponge and having a go at cleanup efforts. The results impressed him that using manual effort would improve upon what the cleaning machines could do. The council had been getting complaints for four years about the state of the subway and Mr. Kumar mentioned that the level of cleanliness was becoming a real headache in how the city would be perceived by the throngs of visitors coming into town.
Mr. Kumar met with representatives from Westminster Council’s Community Payback Scheme and London Underground, and helped arrange the free labour for the cleanup effort. One Westminster Council member was quoted as saying, “Everyone’s a winner – people who have committed offences pay something back to society and at the same time these tunnels get a really good clean.” This effort also provides a cost-effective way of cleaning the tunnels, as the council will have expenses for the larger cleanup effort required throughout the whole area after the wedding.
So if you are attending the festivities and traveling through the subway, your journey will be fresher and brighter thanks to the efforts of this diverse group of citizens.