Face to face with London cleaners

A portrait exhibition in the City of London is celebrating the lives of cleaners in the capital.

Launched earlier this summer, “To See or Not to See? Face to Face with the Cleaners of London” was created by Clean for Good, a unique ethical cleaning company, which began trading in 2017.

Clean for Good was established to provide a fairer deal for cleaners and change the industry across the country. “The sector is infamous for low pay and poor conditions. We want to change that for good,” said Clean for Good’s managing director Tim Thorlby.

Following principles similar to Fair Trade, Clean for Good pays the Living Wage and offers full employment benefits, a rarity for cleaning businesses.

Tim says he hopes this exhibit, which features striking portraits of 11 Clean for Good employees by photographer Rosie Wedderburn, will help people see and think about people who are often “hidden”. It is being hosted by St Sepulchre’s Church, one of Clean for Good’s 40+ customers.

Clean for Good is proving that there is a viable market for ethical office cleaning. It began as an idea in 2014 in the Parish of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe in the City of London. The church wanted to find a practical way to help low-paid workers in their wealthy parish.

The idea won a ‘dragon’s den’ competition at the Greenbelt Festival in 2014, which was co-sponsored by Church Mission Society (CMS). CMS became a founder investor in Clean for Good, which is now a NatWest Top 100 Social Business with 40 employees.

“We encourage people to see this powerful free exhibition and even more so, to spread the word about Clean for Good to businesses in the City,” said Jonny Baker, director of mission education at CMS, which helps run a popular course called Make Good which helps bring social and missional enterprise ideas like Clean for Good to life.

Exhibition details:

St Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn Viaduct, City of London, EC1A 2DQ. Monday – Thursday, 11am – 2pm. It will tour other venues in London from September.

Photo: ‘Maria’, one of the Clean for Good cleaners, photographed by Rosie Wedderburn.

Published 6 August 2019
Europe, Middle East and North Africa

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