George Monck (Chief Executive) is passionate about helping people to strengthen their communities by getting together to pick up litter. Since CleanupUK started focusing on helping people living in deprived areas, he has been impressed by how the simple act of coming together to improve their local area has led to people feeling not only part of a friendlier community but also safer too. George is determined to show that the presence of litter is much more negative and destructive than most people imagine and that every community can benefit from taking action against litter. Before starting CleanupUK, George was a management consultant and manager.
Sarah Hayes (Project Manager) manages the Project Coordinators supporting people on CleanupUK’s projects setting up community cleanup activities in north and east London and in Birmingham. Previously she headed up a national grant-making team for Volunteering England (now National Council for Voluntary Organisations) distributing funding on behalf of the Department of Health to local health & social care volunteering projects across the country.
She has been a volunteer herself since the year 2000 when she started visiting immigration detainees for the Gatwick Detainees’ Welfare Group. Sarah then spent 7 months volunteering in Ghana, for Africatrust Networks, where she led a community library-building project. She has also provided volunteering development consultancy to Family First Aiders, a local charity in North London.
Being a parent of two small children, Sarah spends a lot of time in parks and open spaces. She loves the huge amount of green space that her city has to offer and feels it is essential that all children be taught how to take care of their environment.
Since working for CleanupUK Sarah has taken part in various community litter-picks and has been struck by how much these community cleanups really have brought people together and made those areas feel cleaner, friendlier and safer.
Neeta Kanagaratnam (Project Coordinator, London) aims to ignite passion, inspire change and support individuals and groups to make a real difference in their community. Through the simple act of litter-picking individuals are able to come together in their local area, take ownership of where they live and together make their communities stronger, cleaner and safer.
It was only after becoming a mother did Neeta gain experience within the Voluntary Sector, managing Barking & Dagenham Faith Forum where she gained valuable understanding of the dynamics and challenges faced by such a diverse community within a deprived area. It also highlighted the wonderful work carried out by the many volunteers within faith groups, who serve their community selflessly.
Having volunteered at her daughter’s school, as well as a community events organisation, Neeta’s most memorable experience was as a Volunteer Performer at the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, a proud moment in our country’s history.
The same pride and dedication has been noticed by Neeta during litter-pick events and is a wonderful example of how many small actions generate change.
CleanupUK mirrors Neeta’s core beliefs of respect, community togetherness and the importance of humans taking care of our planet and thinking beyond our own needs.
Yvonne Price (Project Coordinator, Birmingham) is bringing CleanupUK’s work to Birmingham with The Beautiful Birmingham Project.
When Yvonne visited The Beautiful Boroughs Project in London and witnessed what it achieves – bringing communities together with litter-pick events – she found it an inspiration. It is very evident to her that a community that works together to make their environment litter-free, makes for a stronger, safer community and a nicer place to live. This is something she would like to encourage in Birmingham and to change people’s attitudes and response to litter. Litter affects us all.
For the past 9 years Yvonne has worked for the charity, Birmingham Irish Association, working in some of Birmingham’s less affluent areas. Yvonne comments : “It’s surprising how a littered area can feel unfriendly and unsafe, which is often not actually the case. The Beautiful Birmingham Project will give communities the opportunity to come together and change that for themselves. Litter – it’s a real bugbear of mine”.
Yvonne is passionate about community and passionate about Birmingham and wants to make it a better place to live – for her, for her two children and for the next generation. She recognises that something as simple as a community litter-pick can be the beginning of something enjoyable and rewarding and it really does make a difference.
Daniella Levene (Project Coordinator, London) wants to get everyone litter-picking. An avid litter-picker, she knows first-hand how this simple act can make a massive difference.
Daniella runs monthly cleanups at her local nature reserve, the Welsh Harp, and although she was initially motivated by concerns about litter’s impact on the environment, she has seen how collective community action can have many positive and far-reaching outcomes. Civic pride, social unity and community relations are developed, friendships are formed and it can be the start of something so much more.
Daniella hopes to share her enthusiasm for litter-picking as a fun and rewarding activity that most people, young and old, are able to get involved with. She wholeheartedly shares CleanupUK’s aims that every community in the UK will have its own litter-picking group to benefit not only the local area but to help tackle the global litter crisis. Prior to joining CleanupUK, Daniella worked for Thames21 and before that was a dog walker. She is unashamedly dog mad and can be often found rambling through green spaces, walking her dog, watching wildlife and of course picking litter.
Helen Searle (Fundraiser) has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years. After completing a Masters in Southern African history in 1996, she joined the Canon Collins Educational Trust for Southern Africa where she learnt about every aspect of fundraising. In 2004 she moved to The Children’s Society where she chose to specialise in raising funds from charitable trusts and foundations. In 2007 she became a fundraising consultant and had the opportunity to work for a wonderful variety of different charities in the fields of social welfare, social justice, and the environment.
Helen leapt at the opportunity to work for CleanupUK. She has two young children and feels a huge responsibility to look after our environment for their future. The troubles of the world can feel overwhelming, so taking care of our own communities and local environment, and doing so with our neighbours, brings a positive sense of achievement and possibility. Inner city urban areas can feel very depressing and even dangerous when the streets are dirty, but venturing out together to improve where we live creates a much-needed sense of community and possibility.