Community Space Challenge offers 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 focuses on improving outdoor spaces and involves 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 has 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, have benefitted hugely from being involved in Community Space project.
Growing up in care, she says prison could have been a real possibility for her. Now Emma, who previously took little interest in the environment, is most likely found making bird boxes, tending vegetables on the project’s allotment and helping to organise community clean-up days or a 'makeover' of her town's railway station with new planting.
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’s also a member of the project’s Youth Advisory Board, supporting other young people in Goole and helping to advise and promote the project’s national programme.
Over 10,000 young people, like Emma, have benefited from Community Space Challenge to date. 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.