A COMMUNITY scheme aimed at keeping York clean and offering more chances for residents to get involved in volunteering will be launched today.

Smarter York, a City of York Council-run project, is designed to keep neighbourhoods free of litter and encourage people to play a greater role in protecting York’s image as public spending becomes increasingly squeezed.

The initiative will run alongside the council’s existing Love Where You Live drive and build on the work already being done by community groups such as the Friends of Chapman’s Pond, in Dringhouses, and parish councils to maintain and enhance the appearance of the city. Smarter York will work with the authority’s street-cleaning and waste teams and allow residents to take up more local volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer schemes already backed by the council – which has to save £19.7 million over 2012/13 and 2013/14 – include snow wardens, with more than 100 people having so far been recruited to help clear paths during bad winter weather. Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said this proved residents’ appetite for taking an active role in their community is growing.

“Smarter York sums up how we want to engage and empower residents and businesses to keep York a beautiful place to live and work,” he said.

“It is about the council recognising the huge financial challenges we face by being honest about what we can do, encouraging residents to help out and working more effectively to help keep York looking like a world-class city.

“This is just the start, and looking ahead we’d like to establish a Smarter Charter to outline our key aims and priorities.”

As well as Smarter York – which will be launched today at the York Environment Centre at St Nicholas Fields, in Tang Hall – community contracts are being forged across the city between the council and residents to lay out shared responsibilities. More information about the campaign is available at york.gov.uk/smarteryork, by e-mailing smarter.york@york.gov.uk, following @CityofYork #Smarter York on Twitter or by downloading the project’s app for free.