Local volunteers from Lambeth Council’s groundbreaking ‘Community Freshview’ project are being presented with a prestigious Green Apple Environment Award in a ceremony at the House of Commons today.
Community Freshview competed against more than 500 other project nominations from businesses and communities around the country to win an award as part of a national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.
Already an award-winning voluntary scheme, Community Freshview encourages local residents to join forces with Lambeth Council to makeover their local areas and clean up derelict pieces of land. The council provides equipment, advice and support, but most of the elbow grease is provided by the residents themselves.
Community Freshview is part of Lambeth Council’s Cleaner Streets campaign, launched in September 2012 with a £20million programme of environmental improvements to roads and pavements, across the borough, as well as neighbourhood schemes to calm traffic, encourage walking and cycling, cut street clutter and plant more trees.
After being approached by, and helping several community groups to do their own clean-ups, Lambeth Council saw an increase in demand for the service from more and more residents who were keen to get involved and the scheme has become increasingly popular ever since.
Some examples of the type of activity local residents have engaged in are:
• Clearing and tidying an area of woodland;
• Building on-street planters and window boxes;
• Removing debris from disused land;
• Cutting back overgrowth from alleyways and footpaths;
• Brightening up local areas to make them visible and safe.
Councillor Pete Robbins, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services on Lambeth Council, said:
“Lambeth is a cleaner, tidier and more attractive borough thanks to Community Freshview and the work of hundreds of local people working with dedicated council staff. What it has shown is that we have most success in improving the environment when we work hand in hand with local people. Community Freshview is a vital part of the Council’s ‘Cleaner Streets’ campaign, launched last September and investing £20million in making the borough a cleaner and greener, more pleasant place for everyone to enjoy.”
Dozens of areas have benefited. In Lanercost Road, Streatham Hill, a children’s play area has been completely revitalised and in Josephine Avenue, Brixton, an area previously blighted by anti-social behaviour has been transformed into a flourishing community garden. Neighbours in Tierney Road, Streatham, have made new friends and discovered a new sense of community spirit after tackling a flower bed previously used as a dumping ground.
Community Freshview has also been invited to submit its winning entry for publication in The Green Book, a leading international reference on environmental best practice, to enable other international campaign groups to learn from their example. The project will also be nominated to represent the UK in the European Business Awards for the Environment.