Community Space Challenge offered young people at risk of offending, the opportunity to improve their local community through clean-up and make-over events.
With 70 projects around England, the work of Community Space Challenge focused on improving outdoor spaces and involved groups of 5-20 young people carrying out a diverse range of projects from running community clean-up events and restoring public green spaces to working on nature reserves or cleaning graffiti and creating public murals.
The project set a new benchmark for youth environmental work and has changed perceptions of young people in hundreds of communities across England.
Youngsters like Emma, from Goole, who admits her childhood was troubled, benefitted hugely from being involved in Community Space project.
Growing up in care, she says prison could have been a real possibility for her. Thanks to her involvement in the project, Emma, who previously took little interest in the environment, was most likely found making bird boxes, tending vegetables on the project’s allotment and helping to organise community clean-up days.
She has stayed out of trouble, is doing well in school with plans to go to university, and says it’s all thanks to Community Space Challenge.
After four years of involvement in the project, she was also a member of the project’s Youth Advisory Board, which supported other young people in Goole and helped to advise and promote the project’s national programme.
Over 10,000 young people, like Emma, benefited from Community Space Challenge. And, 800 community spaces have been transformed. What’s more, over 2,000 participants have gained accredited awards.
Community Space Challenge won Best Environment Project at the 2012 National Lottery Awards.