Social Distancing Ambassadors to safeguard reopening of London’s West End


A unique scheme to support the safe reopening of London’s West End has seen the introduction of 15 Social Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs) to help visitors safely transition out of lockdown.

Launched between Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company, Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA) and New West End Company (NWEC), the SDA initiative will provide three months of targeted hygiene and social distancing guidance, for those returning to the UK’s busiest shopping and entertainment district.

34 hand sanitising stations have been installed between Bond Street and Piccadilly*, with the SDA’s in place seven days a week, between the hours of 8am to 7pm to:

  • Man and refill hand sanitising stations, so visitors can maintain hygiene standards while out and about

  • Monitor social distancing protocols of shop queues and the busiest streets

  • Hand out protective masks and gloves

  • Provide advice on how to safely dispose of masks and gloves, ensuring they are not put in the recycling bin.

The SDA roles have been filled by Westminster locals through Westminster City Council’s recruitment service, which helps the youth, the long term unemployed and those from vulnerable backgrounds to find sustainable workplace opportunities. Veolia has also provided the SDAs with specialised safety training to safeguard them as they help to protect the safety of others.

Veolia is Westminster City Council’s recycling and waste partner, delivering sustainable waste management and streets cleansing activities for the borough. During the past few months, its key workers have maintained the delivery of essential services for residents while also carrying out deep cleansing activities of street furniture and public walkways, to maintain the highest hygiene standards for the public.

Helder Branco, Senior Contract Manager for Veolia in Westminster, said: “The Social Distancing Ambassadors initiative is in line with the ongoing commitments of our street cleansing and collections teams to ensure the streets of Westminster are always clean and safe.”

“Working with Heart of London Business Alliance and New West End Company, we recognised that delivering the safe reopening of the West End – one of the most visited locations in the UK –  required a unique plan that puts public health at the forefront. I hope that the highly visible SDA staff and stations will remind people of the need to remain vigilant while in public and to always keep their hands clean.”