O2 spend over £600,000 to improve communities across the UK

7 July 2008: O2 has helped inspire hundreds of local communities to improve where they live by handing out 850 cash awards totalling over £600,000 to projects across the UK since the launch of the O2 It’s Your Community programme last year.

O2 has been instrumental in helping community projects get off the ground or to strengthen their local presence by issuing cash awards ranging from £100 to £1,000 to prompt positive change on people’s doorsteps. By the end of 2008, It’s Your Community will have funded projects to the tune of £1million.

Run in conjunction with The Conservation Foundation, O2’s It’s Your Community programme has helped tackle graffiti, community eyesores, encouraged people to plant trees and flowers, paid for essential repairs to buildings and parks and aided musical, youth, sport and ecological projects.

The programme underlines O2’s commitment to unite communities, improve neighbourhoods and to motivate people to make a small difference to their local area.

Projects that have benefited from the O2 It’s Your Community programme include:

  • Energy, Space & Time Project, Manchester – used their cash award to help the young people with learning difficulties work with elderly people on an allotment
  • The Hawthorn Family Support Centre, Leeds – run by Leeds Mencap, bought plants for the access area, cleaned up the brickwork and made the disabled access more colourful for the children with learning difficulties.
  • Silver Surfers, Swindon, Wiltshire – the cash award bought new laptops and chairs for the over 50’s group keen to surf the net.
  • Big Spring Clean-up, Edinburgh – the award paid for litter picking equipment for over 400 volunteers who cleaned up the local river.

From the 4,000 applications, the regions that have received most awards are: North West (82) Scotland (75), the North East (73) and the Midlands (72).

Bill Eyres, O2 Head of Corporate Responsibility, Community and Sustainability, said, “We have been overwhelmed at the interest in our It’s Your Community programme and we are delighted that so many positive changes are being made in local communities as a result of the awards. The aim of this programme is to help engage with local people and make a difference to the places where they live. And looking at the range of projects that O2 has been involved with, it is clear that the funding has been inspirational in making those small changes.”

This announcement comes at a time when the It’s Your Community website is set to be re-launched to become a social networking hub for award winners and those interested in applying for funding. The changes also allow for more information on projects and updates on progress by those directly involved. Members of the public and community projects can access information on www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk, 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.