A Glasgow where every street has its champion to improve its urban fabric – whether a display of window boxes or an unsightly gap site being put to good use – is the ambitious, if not revolutionary, aim of its local evening newspaper.
Already, the Evening Times has signed up Strathclyde Fire and Rescue to adopt 11 streets, as part of its Streets Ahead campaign launched this week.
Says a statement issued by the paper: “Working with key partners Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and the City Charitable Trust the campaign aims to create community gardens, organise clean-ups, provide window boxes, tackle safety issues, arrange snow clearing for the vulnerable and much, much more.”
It is hoped other organisations, including local businesses, will become as proactive as Strathclyde Fire and Rescue in adopting streets.
Says editor, Tony Carlin: “We want to do all we can to improve our great city. All the partners believe that one good citizen can make a positive difference to their own street and community …that one good citizen on every street can change an entire city for the better. And the partners are putting their money, their staff, their resources and their expertise behind it.
“On the first day of launch we had our first application for help from a group wanting to create a community garden in the East End. This is exactly the type of project we aim to support to the hilt.”
The statement quotes, Willie Haughey, founder of the City Charitable Trust, as saying: “How much better will residents feel about themselves and their areas when, instead of looking out at an eyesore gap site, they see a community garden which they helped put together.”
Carlin adds: “The way we want this to work is for the communities themselves to tell us what they need and for us to support them with services and resources to allow them to make it happen. What’s required for the West End might not be what’s wanted in the East End. What’s best in a street full of tenements won’t necessarily work in a street of homes with front and back gardens.
“One street might want a wall mural while another wants a garden, one might want graffiti removed or a clean-up organised while another may want window boxes or good neighbour projects for the vulnerable.
“We want our champions, who can be individuals or organisations, to tell us what they want and for them to let us help them meet their goal.”