3 July 2007, London – O2 today committed £1 million towards a nationwide community improvement programme, It’s Your Community, as research reveals that almost half of people in the UK want to make a difference on their doorstep. Everyone wishes they could do one thing to improve where they live and now It’s Your Community exists to inspire people to take that action. Cash awards ranging from £100 up to £1,000, will be given to individuals and groups for projects that will make a positive change. The ethos behind It’s Your Community has been supported by new research commissioned by O2 which provides an insight into how people in Britain view their communities and what local issues are of concern to them. The O2 Community Spirit report highlights that almost half of British people (42 per cent) think local when it comes to helping society by getting involved with volunteering and local tidy-ups. The report also showed that almost three quarters of Brits (70 per cent) think local people are best placed to stimulate local action and connect with communities and over half (52 per cent) also welcome external funding or resources (52 per cent) to help. Other key highlights from the report include: · 39 per cent of people feel the increased use of community websites and blogging can help stimulate local action · The biggest community challenge in the UK was a lack of facilities for young people (65 per cent), followed by anti-social behaviour (61 per cent) and litter (57 per cent · Just over a quarter (29 per cent) wanted to get involved in national issues like UK charities and national fundraising Cath Keers, O2’s Customer Director, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to It’s Your Community so far and it shows there is a desire for people to get out and do something for their local areas. We want to build a network of projects across the UK that collectively make a difference. Applying for an It’s Your Community award is simple and fast, just log on to www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk, get inspired and see what you can do.” It’s Your Community programme is run with help from The Conservation Foundation and will make upwards of 60 awards each month to enable ideas to get off the ground. Anything from tackling a community eyesore to creating links between generations by clearing rubbish and graffiti, planting trees where none grew before, and creating a wildlife pond where there was once a puddle will be considered. The launch builds on a highly successful ten month-pilot, when over 1,500 applications were received and more than 100 community projects benefited across the UK. Through the new interactive website, www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk, members of the public can access information on how to apply for an award, case studies of other projects that have benefited from the cash awards and how different regions have made improvements to their local communities through the programme. – ends –

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