World Cleanup Day Receives United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Award for Mobilization

In recognition of its profound impact on global environmental sustainability, World Cleanup Day (WCD) was honoured with a United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Award for Mobilization.

The Skill Mill, a social enterprise providing employment for young ex-offenders in watercourse and horticulture services, is the leader for the UK for WCD, a worldwide initiative. The remarkable achievement was celebrated at the UN SDG Action Awards Ceremony, held in Rome on 24 July 2023.

Waste presents a pressing global challenge that demands immediate attention and direct action. As one of the world’s largest civic action movements, WCD boldly confronts this challenge by coordinating global one-day cleanups that unite millions of individuals from over 190 countries.

What began in Estonia as a cleanup with 50,000 people in 2008 has evolved into a powerful global movement, touching most nations worldwide. Over the past five years, an astonishing 70 million people have rallied for the cause, mobilizing in a united front for the SDGs. On 17 September 2022, 15 million volunteers dedicated 30 million hours to remove c60,000 tons of waste from nature in a monumental effort to help restore the environment – all in just one day!

In the UK, The Skill Mill serves as the lead organisation for the event. The Skill Mill offers support to individuals, businesses, and community groups to get involved. Beyond leading the UK’s efforts for WCD, the organisation is a social enterprise which provides employment opportunities for young people aged between sixteen and eighteen. It employs only ex-offenders, actively reducing reoffending whilst increasing engagement, participation, employability, and educational levels of the young people to increase their life chances.

“Leading the UK’s WCD initiative is a monumental task, but our teams across the UK are more than up for it,” says David Parks, Managing Director of The Skill Mill. “This one-day worldwide event embodies the ethos of our organisation, and the values we impart to the nearly 100 young people we employ and train across the UK.”


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