OUR award-winning Streets Ahead campaign has successfully encouraged thousands of people in Glasgow to join the bid to make their city cleaner and greener.
As we launch Year Two of the campaign ANN FOTHERINGHAM reveals why Streets Ahead was able to touch so many lives and why evereyone is determined to make it even bigger ... and better.
THE battle to clean up the streets of Glasgow is an ongoing struggle, but one which an increasing number of people are determined to become a part of.
Last year, Streets Ahead encouraged and supported people of all ages and from all walks of life to help to transform our city.
It had a massive impact: in April, Streets Ahead was named Campaign of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards, with judges praising its "uplifting and joyful" approach, and later that month we were celebrating again with the news that Glasgow was officially cleaner, according to a Keep Scotland Beautiful survey.
Now we want to build on that success and make our second year of Streets Ahead even bigger, brighter and better.
The Evening Times has once again teamed up with some high-profile partners – City Charitable Trust, Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow City Council's Clean Glasgow campaign and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue – to help local people improve their own areas.
We want to create an even bigger network of Street Champions – people we can help with resources and support to bring their visions to fruition.
We want to assist groups, schools and individuals to clean up their communities – and we want to hear your suggestions for the type of projects which will make a difference in your area.
Last year, we helped dozens of projects get off the ground and supported many others to develop plans they already had on the go.
We celebrated their achievements at an awards ceremony, and plan to round off the second year of the campaign with a similar event.
Working with our partners, we have so far awarded more than £13,000 in grants to help Streets Ahead projects get off the ground.
One £2000 grant was to the Dalmarnock Legacy Garden, an ambitious plan to turn a rectangle of empty green space at one end of Baltic Street in the east end into a community garden, vegetable plot, eco-house and kids' play area.
Tricia Clint, the project's climate challenge officer, praised the Streets Ahead campaign.
She said: "The Streets Ahead money showed people that this project really was happening, and encouraged them to get involved. It made a huge difference to us."
Barrie Linning, who runs the Garrowhill Garden Estate Community Group, said his group were "eternally grateful" for a Streets Ahead grant of £1000.
He said: "It helped us add a new site to our list of local areas we are working hard to improve with plants, hanging baskets and clean-ups.
"It has been a fantastic boost for us."
Streets Ahead also gave £2000 to Sighthill residents in the Pinkston Drive tower blocks, who have been working hard to keep their part of the city clean and green.
They run regular community litter-pick-ups and have ambitious plans to turn derelict allotments into a community garden.
Sighthill Community Council, which led the project, were crowned overall winners in our Streets Ahead awards earlier this year.
Now, the residents face a different challenge with the news that the tower blocks are to be demolished as part of a multimillion pound regeneration scheme in a bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympics.
Actress, resident and community campaigner Elaine Mackenzie Ellis said: "Streets Ahead is a wonderful campaign. It was a real boost for us and demonstrates what communities can do with a little help.
"Streets Ahead has restarted the heartbeat of communities others have given up on. It is a fantastic campaign and we are proud to be part of it."
"Ironically, since being crowned champions, we now face a battle to save our homes and community."
As we launch our second year of Streets Ahead, we want to hear from anyone who wants to build a better Glasgow.
Whether it's organising clean-ups or road safety campaigns, planting and weeding, turning gap sites into green spaces everyone can enjoy, or putting up hanging baskets in your street, we can help turn your dreams into reality.
Within every project, we will appoint a Street Champion, someone who will keep us in touch with what you need and how we can help you to make it happen.
n Get involved by calling 0141 302 6520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org