Skip to main content

Epping Forest Youth Council’s River Clean-Up Day!

Epping Forest Youth Council’s River Clean-Up Day!

Epping Forest Youth Council used their Leader Award Grant to fun a trip to their local canal to go on a river cruise and join the big bag challenge to help spring clean a river in Roydon!


Around 27 volunteers from Epping Forest Youth Council, Thames Water’s Environmental Protection team, The Canal & River Trust and EFDC Emergency Planning Team joined together to clean the canals with equipment provided by the Cleaner Greener Team at Epping Forest District Council.

  • “Our work with the Canal and Rivers Trust, Thames Water and the Council will ensure a healthy environment for all youngsters” – Finlay Wallbanks, Youth Councillor

They arrived by canal boat, skippered by the CanalAbility Project for Disabled People in Harlow, collecting litter from the river and locks along the way. The Canal & RiverTrust provided 4 canoes for the youth councillors too so that the whole team could get involved and make a difference.

A total of 17 big bags of litter were collected during the day along with larger objects, including a deck chair, plastic colander and a venation blind. The oldest piece of litter dated from 1993 – a Mars Milk drink container – still recognisable after 29 years!

  • “Almost falling into the water was fun and exhilarating” – Martin Prinsloo, Youth Councillor
  • “Best activity of 2022” – Matthew Carter, Youth Councillor

In addition, volunteers found Roydon’s towpath and ditches littered with beer cans, old wine bottles, and numerous cigarette butts at the level crossing. They also found many dogwalkers had discarded their waste bags in hedges and trees, and made the effort to collect this litter too.

  • “It was a great day, and everyone got stuck in” – Frank Cullis, , Youth Councillor
  • “I enjoyed today” – Riya Bhargava, , Youth Councillor



The waste team awarded them a silver badge for collecting over 10 bags of waste. They felt immensely proud of their achievements and felt inspired to continue to litter pick in their local areas.

  • “An Excellent time doing wonderful work in our community.” – Daniel Turner, , Youth Councillor


Not only did the Youth Councillors use some of their Leader Award Grant towards equipment, such as nets, to help them with the Big Bag challenge, but they also purchased these reusable water bottles! Reusable bottles are a great way to reduce plastic waste and protect yourself from toxic chemicals – well done to the Youth Councillors of Epping Forest!

Have you used a Jack Petchey grant towards a project to help the environment? We want to hear from you! Email to share your story and inspire others!

Share this post now!

Join the Scheme!