Search to start for Norwich ‘street champions’
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Recruitment will start within weeks for 'street champions' to help combat fly-tipping and encourage communities across Norwich to take more pride in where they live.
The team of volunteers are being sought as Norwich City Council faces a drop of about £10m in how much money it has to deliver services over the next four years, because of government cuts. Council leaders say that means they need to rethink how services are provided. The neighbourhood offices have already been shut and staff moved to City Hall to cut costs.
The aim is to move away from the council directly delivering so many services, and making communities more self-sufficient, which is where the street champions and recycling champions come in.
As revealed in the Evening News before Christmas, they intend to draw on a scheme which has been running in London. The idea is that they will organise or enable community activities in their streets or neighbourhood.
And, next week, the city council's cabinet is due to agree to begin trialling the concept.
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At first, the council is to test the idea with champions focusing on areas with fly-tipping and litter problems, with volunteers helping to clear up the mess.
And the format will also be tested with recycling champions, who will encourage their neighbours to make sure they make use of their recycling bins and food caddies.
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Paul Kendrick, the city council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: 'As part of the council's community enabling programme we will be running a pilot scheme over the coming weeks in neighbourhoods where issues such as fly-tipping are most prevalent.
'At this stage, recruitment of street champions and recycling champions will take place at local events, as well as by targeting interested groups and residents in key areas.
'We will work with the champions to trial different approaches, develop their role and look at further ways to involve the wider community.'
City Hall officers have visited Lambeth Council to see how its own street champion project, which was launched last year, works.
The council is also working with Voluntary Norfolk to support increased volunteering in the city. It is looking to recruit volunteers to mentor and support community groups.
Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, had previously acknowledged criticism could be levelled that the authority is looking to get people to do its work for them, but he said cuts to local government funding meant it had to be explored.
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