Let Your Neighbourhood Shine with New RAYS Scheme

RAYS Launch

COMMUNITY groups, neighbours and organisations are being invited to take part in the new Reading Adopt Your Street (RAYS) programme.

The initiative will enable residents to improve and maintain the appearance of their neighbourhoods with the support of Reading Borough Council.

Volunteers can choose the area they want to keep clean and tidy and the council will provide the equipment required.

The scheme is being funded by a £10,000 grant provided by Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative.

Reading’s Adopt Your Street programme enables individuals, community groups and organisations, such as schools and scout groups, to select a street, open space, park or shopping area to keep tidy through regular clean-ups.

The council will provide litter picking equipment, plastic bags, gloves and high-vis jackets and will then collect the equipment afterwards.

The initiative will not mean a reduction in the Council’s normal street cleaning schedules.

Adopt Your Street signs, with the names of the adopters, will be presented and installed in areas where neighbours have successfully participated in the scheme.

The Council applied for funding to launch Adopt Your Street through the Tesco Bags of Help initiative after a number of groups enquired about getting more involved in community clean-up projects.

A grant of £10,000 was awarded following a public vote which was carried out in Tesco stores.

Similar projects have been very popular in neighbouring authorities, including Wokingham and Woodley, and Windsor and Maidenhead currently have more than 1,000 volunteers including individuals, schools, businesses and community groups.

Councillor Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said:

“I am really pleased we are now accepting applications from residents who want to be part of the Reading Adopt Your Street programme.

“The RAYS scheme is a great way for neighbours and colleagues to get together and make their street or local area shine. It also encourages a sense of pride in your area and reduces the likelihood of littering.

“I hope to see residents, community groups and organisations from across the borough joining in this exciting new initiative.”

Tesco works with environmental regeneration charity Groundwork on the Bags of Help initiative which awards grants, raised through the 5p plastic bag levy, to local projects.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said:

“Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. We have been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“It’s just the beginning for Bags of Help and we’re really excited about the future.  The scheme will be permanently open for applications, and as grants can now be used for not just the development of, but also for the use of local outdoor spaces, we expect even more groups will now have the chance to benefit.

“It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”

Anyone interested in participating in the Reading Adopt Your Street programme should call (0118) 937 3534 or email RAYS@reading.gov.uk.

Anyone can nominate a local project for the Bags of Help scheme and local organisations can apply. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

Notes to Editors

Reading Borough Council was one of three finalists chosen for the region’s Bags of Help initiative. Shoppers were invited to vote for their favourite project in-store in October and November last year and Reading’s project came second, winning £10,000.

David Millward

For media enquiries about this release email david.millward@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 4289