Headlines: January 27th, 2005

Nine schemes have been named as the finalists in the search for England’s most inspirational transformation of a community space. The nine projects have each won regional awards in the ‘A Picture of Change’ competition and each has won a thousand pounds with a chance of a further five thousand as the national winner.The new competition has been established to identify local groups who have made a momentous difference in making their neighbourhood cleaner, safer and greener. The national winner will be named at the Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester, on February 1st.Announcing the finalists, ODPM minister Phil Hope said each of the nine was a great example of how the community could make a difference to a neighbourhood and the lives of the people who lived there. “Across England,we received over 400 entries for the competition, which is evidence of the enthusiasm that people have for taking action and driving change,” he said. The standard of entries was so high that they will all be showcased on cleanersafergreener.gov.uk.

‘A Picture of Change’ is run by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in partnership with Groundwork and with sponsorship from Barclays SiteSavers. The entrants had to illustrate in words and pictures what had changed in their local park, street or housing estate and what impact this had made on local people.

Chestnut Young Voices, from the Eastern region, saw residents who had been intimidated by gangs working with young people, their parents and youth workers to develop community action and activities. East Midlands winners Rother Community Action created a community garden in a field used by fly tippers and motor bikers. In London, Carshalton Lavender transformed disused allotments into a field of organically grown lavender. Skelton Villages Environment Group took the prize in the North East after an unused and vandalised shop was demolished and replaced with grass and seats. The Albion Residents Group in Charleston in the North West was rewarded for a scheme, which involved the community in cleaning up a run down estate, which was earmarked for possible clearance. In the South East the Howard Street Project also developed a community garden and South West winners, Indigos Go Wild were an out of school club that outgrew their base and transformed an acre of woodland. In the West Midlands the winner was the Peach Tree Community Association, which turned a derelict site into award winning environmental toddlers play area. Finally, the award in Yorkshire and Humber went to RCG Tenants and Residents Association who turned derelict allotments into a mini nature reserve.