Take a LEAF out of this group's book to improve your neighbourhood

IT'S the little things, explained Marion Copeland and Joan McMahon, which make all the difference.

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Ryan Aird, Marion Copland, GHA Chairman Gordon Sloan, Joan McMahon and Grant Thomson aim to use the LEAF teams to improve communities
Ryan Aird, Marion Copland, GHA Chairman Gordon Sloan, Joan McMahon and Grant Thomson aim to use the LEAF teams to improve communities

The two women are LEAF members, part of the GHA's latest initiative aimed at bringing neighbourhoods across the city up to scratch.

Marion said: "It might not seem much, to say that the grass is untidy, or there are loose wires where an old light fitting is hanging off, or a bin shed looks untidy...but getting these things sorted can make a huge difference to an area.

Joan agreed: "Take this area, for example, which is a back court. It was really unkempt before, and now it looks like a private garden. It's a space people can enjoy."

The back court in question, on Stevenson Street in the east end, is just one of 14 areas being transformed as part of the GHA's Gold Standard scheme.

The Glasgow-wide blitz means residents can help raise environmental standards by grading their communities and agreeing how they can be improved.

The LEAF panels were set up to encourage everyone to aim for the highest score, the Gold Standard.

LEAF members like Marion and Joan, who consider issues like the cleanliness of back courts, closes and foyers and the state of grassy areas around homes, have become part of our Street Champions network across the city.

Stevenson Street is currently at silver standard level, but plans to improve fencing and plant flowerbeds aim to help the area achieve gold level next year.

On one of their regular patrols, Joan and Marion meet up with Jack Main, GHA's environmental co-ordinator, who explained: "The great thing about the LEAF initiative is that it gives residents considerable input into how the areas around their homes are looked after.

"Our teams work hard, but the residents' input makes all the difference - they are looking at it from the point of view of people who live here, and they know what will have a big impact on them. It's a fantastic scheme."

Jacqueline Norwood, GHA's Neighbourhood Services Leader, agreed.

She said: "The Local Environmental Action Forums in each area have helped give us a clear idea of what the community sees as its priorities.

"It might be minor repairs that are needed, or more regular cleaning of closes and foyers or increased patrols by our environmental wardens.

"Many neighbourhoods have seen new bin areas, or landscaped back courts or more regular inspections by our Enforcement Officers to tackle litter and dog-fouling."

She added: "The Forums have already helped us bring areas up to a standard tenants deserve. We want all our neighbourhoods to be places people are proud to live in."

GHA chairman Gordon Sloan adds: "We want to give tenants a real say in decisions which affect their community. Our LEAFs are one way we do that.

"Through these local forums, GHA staff listen to residents' concerns and their ideas for what they want to see in their neighbourhood.

"And then they work with the community to take action to make the area a better place to live."

Environment

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