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Environmental charity secures £266,251 to turn London's youth into Waterway Cham

Thames21 logoLondon's leading waterways charity Thames21 has been awarded £266,251 funding by v, the youth volunteering charity, to get young people positively involved in their communities. Thames21's Waterway Champions project aims to get over 2,500 young people aged 16-25 volunteering on London’s waterways over the next three years.

Thames21 will train and support young people to become Waterways Champions and improve run down urban waterways in their neighbourhood. Young volunteers will propose areas to improve, take part in activities and motivate other young volunteers to transform London's waterways.

Thames21 plans to take young people's interest in waterways as a place to be with friends, and increasingly, as a place to fish, and encourage more stewardship by young people over this environment.

Thames21's Waterway Champions is one of 152 projects across the country to be funded by v as part of vinvolved, a new national youth volunteering programme backed by £75 million funding, which aims to inspire half a million more young people to volunteer in England.

Chief Executive of Thames21 Debbie Leach says: "We are very excited to be part of the vinvolved programme. This funding will allow Thames21 to create opportunities for more than 2,500 young people to demonstrate their passion for the environment and become Waterway Champions. The full involvement of young people will not only benefit communities by improving the physical environment on London's waterways but will also address negative perceptions of young people within the community. "

vinvolved has been designed by and for young people to make volunteering a compelling choice for all 16-25 year olds in England by tapping into their passions and concerns. The charity aims to change the image of volunteering and make it a 'must-have' part of young people's lives.

Terry Ryall, v's Chief Executive, says: "v is delighted to be able to fund this innovative and youth-led project, which will enable young people to get positively involved in London's waterways.

"Young people are at the heart of this new programme which aims to put them at the centre of our communities. Instead of seeing them as a problem to be fixed, we are giving them the chance to become a positive force for change."

The volunteering opportunities will be available from April 2008. For more information visit www.wearev.com or the young people's portal www.vinspired.com Full information about Waterway Champions will be available from January 2008 on www.thames21.org.uk.


Media enquiries: contact Leigh McAlea on 020 7213 0166 or 07875 250 284 or email.

Notes to Editors

  • The vinvolved funding on London's waterways will create 2,500 new volunteering opportunities for young people
  • Thames21 is an environmental charity working to bring London’s waterways to life. Dirty rivers and canals reduce the quality of life for all, harm and kill wildlife, damage the environment and drive people away from vital open spaces. London’s rivers and canals are precious natural resources providing green spaces for urban communities and habitats for wildlife. Each year, with the help of over 4,000 volunteers, Thames21 removes over 1,000 tonnes of harmful litter from the River Thames, its tributaries and the canal network.
  • v is the youth volunteering charity launched in May 2006 whose mission is to inspire a new generation of young volunteers in England aged 16-25. v is supported by the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office. The charity was set up to implement the recommendations of the Russell Commission outlining a new national framework for youth action and engagement, following a nationwide consultation which included 6000 young people.
  • v is led by the cares, interests, passions and beliefs of young people. A Youth Advisory Board made up of twenty young people called v20 is involved in all aspects of the charity’s work. Four members of v20 sit on v's Board of Trustees.
  • The new programme will fund 105 vinvolved teams of experts, at least 105 Youth Action Teams and 152 projects run by small and large organisations.
  • vinvolved builds on the previous government-funded Millennium Volunteers programme and v's work to date with more than 200 voluntary sector organisations. It has commissioned 205,000 volunteering opportunities so far. The new programme gives voice to the 6,000 young people surveyed by the Russell Commission who said there needed to be a step change in the quantity, quality and diversity of volunteering opportunities to make it easier for young people to volunteer.