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London 2012 inspires sustainable living

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has announced new funding to start projects providing a ‘greenprint’ to help local residents turn derelict land into accessible green spaces, recycle more, and travel more sustainably.

Using the inspiration of the Olympic Games, Defra’s £800,000 Inspiring Sustainable Living grants will help local community groups with practical and achievable ways for residents to live more sustainably.

The Greenway, Olympic Park (courtesy London 2012)

Visiting the View Tube, a a social enterprise and community venue on The Greenway next to the Olympic Park, with the recipients of the Inspiring Sustainable Living grants, Ms Spelman said:

“Most people have a real desire to do the right thing by making more sustainable choices that are good for our planet.

“London 2012 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire genuine change and provide a model of how living sustainably can be incorporated into whole communities as we build a green economy. These projects will contribute by making a practical difference in the community and leave a lasting green legacy.”

Inspiring Sustainable Living is providing start-up grants of £200,000 to each of the following projects for one year, to deliver results by March 2013:

  • One Planet Experience (BioRegional)
    Recruiting 2,012 inspirational role models, including Olympians and Paralympians, to help them achieve more long-term sustainable lifestyles, and act as community leaders for sustainability. An interactive sustainability centre at the Games will encourage athletes to make and keep their sustainability pledges. Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola will also provide support for this project.
  • Inspired to Sustainable Living (East Potential)
    Providing practical advice and assistance to social housing tenants to increase recycling rates and develop better understanding of nutrition for disadvantaged young people.
  • Transform Project (Groundwork London)
    Transforming 20 areas of derelict land into local green spaces or community gardens, as well as improving local recycling rates and empowering people to lead more sustainable lifestyles and engage in environmental volunteering.
  • Active Travel Champions (Sustrans)
    Providing training and support to volunteers so that they can encourage people in workplaces, schools, universities and communities to make healthier and more environmentally-friendly long-term transport choices.

Defra worked closely with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) on selecting the projects which aim to help people live more sustainable lives using the inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The projects will benefit from Olympic ‘Inspire Mark’ endorsement and will be included in London 2012 official promotional materials.

Inspiring sustainable living

Representatives of the recipient organisations explained how the funding would help them inspire more sustainable living.

BioRegional Executive Director Sue Riddlestone hopes the One Planet Experience will “inspire local community leaders and Team GB Olympians and Paralympians to adopt pro-environmental behaviours and to become environmental champions”, while East Thames Director of Social and Economic Regeneration Pamela Gardner expects the East Potential project “to help people living in urban environments like east London to lead more sustainable lives for generations to come”.

Ben Coles, Director, Communities and Local Partnerships, Groundwork London explained how groundwork will “team up with London Sustainability Exchange to work across the host boroughs to transform derelict spaces into well-used and valued community spaces as part of the London 2012 legacy”.

Sustrans London Director Carl Pittam said, “Sustrans is excited to be part of Olympic fever, playing a role in helping people to cycle and walk more in the run up to and during London 2012. This is a real opportunity to be an Olympic host country that champions healthier and more active ways of travelling, both to the Games and as part of everyday life.”

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