An incredible 125,000 people have now signed up to take part in the Great British Spring Clean.
The major milestone was reached yesterday, less than a fortnight after the call went out for public-spirited volunteers to join litter picks in their area.
It came as the UK’s two largest banks, HSBC and Lloyds, and its biggest building society, Nationwide, endorsed the campaign and said they would encourage their staff to get involved.
It was hailed as a ‘truly astonishing start’ to this year’s drive, which the Daily Mail backs in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy.
Some 125,488 people had pledged support by yesterday afternoon, with 4,822 clean-up events registered. The numbers received a significant boost this week thanks to hundreds of schools and councils signing up.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘This is a truly astonishing start to our Great British Spring Clean and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has pledged their support so far.’
Last year the Great British Spring Clean enlisted almost 600,000 people to join litter-picks. This was an incredible increase from 2018, when 370,000 people were involved.
But this year organisers are aiming for a million volunteers. It is hoped the nationwide effort between March 20 and April 13 will help tackle the blight of rubbish and fly-tipping.
Yesterday some of Britain’s leading financial institutions backed the campaign. The involvement of their staff is set to further bolster the volunteer number by tens of thousands.
Lloyds says it will be encouraging all its 80,000 staff to take part. Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, said: ‘We are proud to be involved in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean once again this year, alongside our biggest volunteering campaign Give & Gain.’
HSBC will encourage staff to use their two paid volunteer days to get involved. In 2018, 7,722 employees used their days to work on projects around the country.
Meanwhile Nationwide said the campaign was an excellent way of localising the issue of the environment and it will ask its 18,000-strong workforce to get involved.
Hargreaves Lansdown is also encouraging employees to take part. The firm will invite all 1,400 staff based in its Bristol office to take part in at least one of its two litter-picks.
The first will be held around its headquarters in an extended lunch hour, while the second will be a trip to collect rubbish on the Bath to Bristol cycle path.
Hailing the 125,000-volunteer milestone, Victoria Prentis, the Tory MP for Banbury and North Oxfordshire who chairs the Tidy Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: ‘I really hope this is the start of a major clean-up movement.’
Boris Johnson, Lord Sugar and the England rugby team are just some of the figures who have thrown their weight behind the Great British Spring Clean.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has also urged Christians to ‘litter-pick for Lent’.
The National Trust is encouraging its 5.5million members to get involved, while the WI has also put out a call to action.
McDonald’s also joined in the fight against litter this week, while other backers include sponsors Co-op, Wilko, Coca-Cola and Walkers.