O2’s £1million programme It’s Your Community asked the UK ‘if you could change one thing about where you live, what would it be?’ when it launched in July 2007 and the people of the North West responded in their droves, with 185 applications. Over 45 of these applications have been selected to receive cash awards of up to £1,000 and turn their ideas into a reality. The North West region has the highest amount of projects awarded through the programme and one of the fantastic projects was Mildred Avery and The Beeley Street Garden Group in Salford. The group received £500 in March to fund some plants and a glass house. Since then Mildred has become the North West’s heroine for back to back gardens. The Beeley Street Garden Group has become the inspiration for other Manchester area projects who are looking to turn run down and dirty alleys into a place where residents can garden, meet friends, and feel safe about their children. One of those was Charles Street in Salford whose application was a direct result of seeing Mildred in the local press and popping down for a visit. Mildred has in fact become a local tourist attraction, not only showing Hazel Blears MP and a group of local councilors but also a party of 20 Norwegian Tourists! “We can not believe how much the It’s Your Community award has done. We have not only transformed a horrid place into our very own Garden of Eden but we’ve been able to inspire other projects from the North-West and now across the country, something we’re really proud of.” Said Mildred. Cath Keers, O2’s Customer Director, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to It’s Your Community and the amount of applications show that there is a desire to get out there and do something for the local area. We want to build a network of projects across the UK that collectively makes a difference. Even though the North West is number one at the moment, Scotland and Wales are not far behind. We’d love to hear more ideas from the North West and start awarding a whole new generation of projects. 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.” Each month over 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. -ends-

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