LOCATION: East London.
AIM: Drawing inspiration from the Olympic Park’s regeneration, the Changing Places Programme was established to: (a) inspire surrounding communities to improve public spaces, such as parks, open spaces and watersides; (b) enable people to learn new interests and skills; and (c) to enable long-lasting improvements in the quality of the local environment beyond the period of the Olympic Games.
BACKGROUND: Changing Places was launched in spring 2009 at Three Mills, approximately three miles south of the Olympic Park. With the help of communities and a range of partners (including central Government, regional bodies, the London 2012 Commercial Partners, charitable organisations and non-governmental bodies), Changing Places has been working to turn previously derelict, neglected and underused plots of land into spaces with a use. The programme is funded by contributions from Keep Britain Tidy, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, and the Safer London Foundation.
- According to a project report published in April 2011, a range of projects have been established through the programme, bringing people together to enable transformations such as: (a) planting over 3,000 trees; (b) £16,610 small grants awarded to communities to undertake environmental enhancement projects in their area; (c) removal of the equivalent of eight tennis courts-worth of graffiti; (d) removal of over ten tonnes of litter and waste from rivers, canals and open spaces; (e) creation (or restoration) of new habitats for London’s wildlife including new aquatic plants and the construction of bird and bat boxes; and (f) seven motorbikes pulled from east London’s waterways.
- Efforts have also been made to work with school children in nine London boroughs to identify what they like about their local areas and what they would like to change. Using film and photography, the students were tasked with identifying issues which, if addressed, would improve the perceived safety of their neighbourhoods. Changing Places has since been working with students to address these issues, including activities such as lake clean ups to remove litter, overgrown vegetation and dumped waste.