January 2009, London – O2 It’s Your Community has now given away over £1million to more than 1,200 community groups across the UK to help improve where they live.

O2 It’s Your Community was launched in July 2007 after research showed that nearly half of Brits wanted to make a difference in their local area. The programme provides a quick and simple process that gives near instant cash awards of between £100 and £1000. To date, over 5,500 have applied for an It’s Your Community award with the most successful projects coming from the North West Region with 172.

£1,000 may not seem like a lot, but It’s Your Community is proof that a little can go a long way.

All over the country groups and projects have benefited from the programme with a great example being the Cricklade Leisure Centre in Swindon. Before the local community took it upon themselves to apply for the £1000 award it was on the brink of collapse. With fresh thinking and a new lease of life, the centre has gone from strength to strength and now forms the backbone of the local community and gives full-time employment to people in the neighbourhood.

The programme also gives the local people a platform to shout about what they’re doing.

Another example is Athol House, in West London which received a £1000 It’s Your Community award to provide innovative services to help disabled people live life more fully by teaching them about the environment around them.

Alison Hardy, the House Service Manager said: “Without the award we would not have achieved anything. This project has enabled us to deliver an Ecostep Bronze Award and a certificate in Recycling and Sustainability from Middlesex University. The publicity we received from the award attracted more young disabled people to the club, but also brought us to the attention of other funding sources.”

Bill Eyres, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for O2, said: “It’s Your Community is a unique programme in the way that it cuts out the red tape, eliminating the many hurdles and loops people would have to go through to achieve funding. The programme was set up to give people the chance to make a difference and I believe we’re hitting that target.”

O2 It’s Your Community awards have helped people to become heroes and make a difference to their communities all over the UK and O2 are committed to continuing its support for communities into 2009 and beyond.

Each month up to 60 projects throughout the UK receive up to £1000 of It’s Your Community funding. Awards must be for the benefit of the community or to build community spirit. For more information about the hundreds of projects which have already received an award and how to apply for one, visit www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk.

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