Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Ten of Britain’s business giants are backing plans by the London Mayor to transform the capital by getting thousands of people to volunteer.
They include IBM, Proctor and Gamble as well as Bloomberg and Mastercard, all of whom have signed up to the £4.5 million Team London programme.
The scheme has been made possible with £2m of initial funding from the Reuben Foundation and £2.5m from the Mayor. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has provided additional support and resources through Bloomberg LP.
The programme will mobilise around 10,000 volunteers, primarily across six large scale projects to help improve the quality of life in the city. Boris Johnson wants to create an army of community spirited volunteers who will become leaders of uniformed youth groups, mentors, sports coaches, literacy champions to help green London through planting trees and support learning activities for older people.
Based on the Cities of Service Model pioneered by Mayor Bloomberg in New York and now being pursued in over 100 American cities, London is the first city outside the United States to develop its own plan to bring individuals, public, private and voluntary organisations together to work more effectively to change communities. The scheme will also ensure better co-ordination of existing volunteering activity and help make volunteering in London easy to do and easier to find out about.
The scheme is supported by the philanthropic funding of the Reuben Foundation, a UK-registered foundation created to channel the charitable giving of the Reuben Brothers
Mr Johnson said: “All across the capital, ordinary Londoners are making an extraordinary difference by volunteering their time. We want to harness this incredible goodwill and the generous philanthropy of the capital’s businesses, to make London a safer, cleaner, greener and stronger city. I’m calling on everyone to sign up and be a part of Team London, so together we can make this the best big city in the world.”
The Mayor has appointed third sector organisations to deliver each of the inaugural projects, which from today Londoners can volunteer for and businesses can sign up to be become a part of at www.london.gov.uk/teamlondon. There is also information on how to get involved in volunteering opportunities in your local area.
The initial six projects are Literacy Champions, Technology Champions for Older People, Greener London, Mayor’s Mentors, Uniformed Youth and Sports Volunteer Fund.
Meanwhile, if you know someone who deserves a thank-you for their volunteering work from London Mayor Boris Johnson, nominate them as your London star.
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Recommending someone is a simple process. Use the links at the top-right to access the short online form on London24 and to get more details.