Celebrating those who make the neighbourhood special
Behind the scenes in Wembley Park is a team of hard-working professionals without whom the neighbourhood wouldn’t have nearly so much shine: Wembley Park’s cleaning team.
Park Life talked to Carla Martins, who heads up the cleaning team and supervisor William Kobenan, to find out what it takes to make an area the size of Wembley Park function as a major event destination, while also returning it overnight to the community neighbourhood that residents are used to enjoying.
How many people does it take to keep Wembley Park clean?
We have an on-site cleaning team of 15 on a normal day, which we increase to 23 on event days. The team covers all the external areas of the neighbourhood, including Union Park, along with the carparks and offices.
What does an average day entail?
Our cleaners start arriving from 5.30 am, ready to be out in the neighbourhood by 6 am. It’s important to get the office spaces and car parks clean before people arrive. We have staff working in shifts, so that there are cleaners on-site right up until 10 pm.
During an average day, we keep pedestrian areas clean and tidy, pick up litter and empty bins, remove graffiti, clean up dog mess, deal with fly-tipping, jet wash pavements, wash lampposts, clean handrails and more. There’s always plenty to do!
Every single day has its own reality. In addition to routine tasks, we flex our service and prioritise daily to meet the needs of the neighbourhood.
What kind of things do you find left behind in Wembley Park?
We have found all sorts of things. We take items such as phones, chargers, bags and backpacks to Guest Services within London Designer Outlet, in the hope that they can be reunited with those who have lost them. We let the security team know too, in case people ask about items they have dropped or left behind.
We also clear up larger objects, everything from broken microwaves to shopping trollies. Probably the most unusual thing we found was a bathtub in Union Park! We also found gym equipment discarded outside one of the residential buildings.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
The weather! Come rain or shine, our team is about in the neighbourhood keeping it spick and span. Summertime tends to be our busiest time of year, as so many people are out and about enjoying themselves. It’s the best weather but the most challenging season.
Event days can also pose particular challenges, due to the sheer volume of people. That’s why we expand our team to keep everything looking immaculate. We have extra cleaners along Olympic Way and in other busy locations. We spend much of those days emptying bins; the volume of rubbish is so large on event days that we have a skip on-site.
Some concerts also have unique challenges. A Harry Styles concert, for example, means having to clear up a LOT of feathers – they blow everywhere. But the team always has a smile, no matter what the day presents.
On match days, we also have the fun of clearing up after police horses – there’s a lot of pavement washing on those days!
How can residents and visitors help keep Wembley Park clean and tidy?
Clearing up after dogs is probably the top thing! Thankfully, most of those who spend time here are respectful of the importance of keeping things tidy – of leaving the neighbourhood as they would like to find it, for everyone to enjoy.
To report an issue to Wembley Park’s cleaning team, please email: FMSupport@wembleypark.com