James Smith, Engagement Officer at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) / January 19, 2018

Supporting grassroots resident groups to make a real change in their neighbourhoods

The Maltby Environmentalists project engages local children in positive after-school activities. Each week, around 20 children meet to collect litter, learn about the environment and share well-deserved treats. The work boosts social cohesion and promotes volunteering.

In the Spring of 2013, local couple Freda and Bob noticed a number of problems on their estate. Children didn’t have access to any afterschool activities, they often didn’t mix because of divisions between families, and the estate was full of litter. Freda and Bob quickly recognised a solution to all these problems – a weekly litter pick project. They invited local children and adult volunteers to take part and gave goodie bags as a reward.

The children who initially helped out loved the activity and developed a keen interest in the environment. So the project expanded to include educational activities alongside litter picking. Staff from South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) heard about the project and gladly offered support. This included arranging for the Sustainability Manager to talk to the children about recycling, helping to ensure the project was being run safely, financing the rewards and supporting/training the volunteers.

The project continues to go from strength to strength and regularly attracts new members. It’s great to see children of varying ages and from different nationalities and backgrounds working together with a diverse range of adult volunteers to take pride in their estate and help make Maltby a nicer place to live.


By James Smith, Engagement Officer at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA).

Housing associations have always turned society’s challenges into opportunities to improve people’s lives. Creating our Future taps into the energy and enthusiasm of the entire sector to better understand the trends shaping the future and co-create groundbreaking ideas in response. You can see more examples here.

If you would like to contribute a blog then we’d love to hear from you – please email us on futures@housing.org.uk.

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