Changing Places, our outreach programme, encourages people to get out and transform their local community – improving the negative parts, and celebrating the good.
The communities of east London are some of the most diverse and dynamic in the world – but they are unfortunately also some of the most deprived in Europe, suffering from a range of social, economic and environmental problems. Taking inspiration from the Olympic Park’s regeneration, the Changing Places programme was created to support the community in tackling the issues they face, providing an opportunity to get involved in London 2012, and extend the benefits of the Games far beyond the boundaries of the Olympic Park.
Our aims are to:
- inspire communities to improve public spaces – for example parks and watersides;
- enable people to learn new skills and develop new interests; and
- improve the environmental quality of our communities around London 2012 venues and beyond, to create long-lasting change.
Our partners include central Government, regional bodies, the London 2012 Commercial Partners, charitable organisations and non-governmental bodies.
There are a number of ways to get involved in the London 2012 Changing Places programme – whether volunteering at an event or organising your own project that Changing Places could help support and promote.
We will be running a series of events at locations close to the Olympic Park up until Games time. With the help of volunteers, we will be making some final efforts to get east London ready for the Games.
To find a Changing Places event and get involved, visit our events database.
Since the launch of Changing Places in spring 2009 we have been working hard with our partners to improve the quality of the environment for people and wildlife. Some of things we’ve achieved are:
Case study: Transform
- Collaboration with 6,075 people, many of whom live locally to the Olympic Park
- Our volunteers have given nearly 15,000 hours of their time for the benefit of the community
- Planting more than 3,000 trees, which will help tackle climate change for many years
- Removal of more than 15 tonnes of waste from the parks, rivers, and canals of London. That’s the equivalent of 2066 shot puts
- Creation of nearly 7000 square metres of new wildflower meadow, brightening up east London and providing much needed new habitat for birds, bees and butterflies
- Transformation of the environment at two-hundred and fifty sites, benefiting thousands of people across the country
- Removal of more than 2000 square metres of graffiti. That’s the equivalent of eight tennis courts
One of Changing Places’ most successful projects has been ‘Transform’, coordinated by Groundwork London. Inspired by the regeneration of the Olympic Park, the Changing Places programme secured funding to transform up to fifty poor quality sites that were derelict, run-down or just under used. The aim was to turn these spaces into a thriving resource for local people, and that could be anything the community wants. From community growing spaces to new areas for play the potential is massive. However, it is the involvement of the community that is vital in the planning and delivery of the transformations so that the sites can continue to be a fantastic resource for many years to come.
The project has already proved incredibly successful with some dramatic transformations, and 200 members of the community have been recruited who will sustain the projects and continue to pull the community together once our involvement has finished. We estimate that over 10,000 people have reaped the benefits of improved environmental quality from the Transform project alone.
Create your own project
If you already have a project in mind but have been unable to get it off the ground, then a small grant and some expert advice from Changing Places might help.
Changing Places has teamed up with Groundwork London and the London Sustainability Exchange to transform up to fifty rundown, derelict or simply underused sites across east London into thriving community resources. Made possible through grants from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, SITA Trust and the City Bridge Trust, we want to help community groups with expert advice and materials to turn the sites into a resource for the community. This could be the creation of a community garden, an allotment, an orchard, or even help to fund a new or improved play area.
The application process is now open, but to be in with a chance of becoming part of Transform, your project must:
- Involve a real physical transformation;
- Have the potential to increase the skills of the community group so that it can be more effective;
- Support a group from the community to improve environmental behaviour choices and practices;
- Be located within the six host boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest
- Have the potential to increase the involvement of Black, Asian, minority ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) participants