Seventy-two per cent of York residents are satisfied with their local neighbourhood, according to a recent survey. So why do we need to ask people to take a greater pride in their local community?

Society changes and so do the standards that people take for granted. The days when householders and traders routinely swept the footpath outside their premises are largely gone, and the increasing pace of life means that many people never get to know their neighbours.

Until, that is, something goes wrong.

Local communities often unite against what they see as a threat to their wellbeing. For example, recently the scourge of antisocial behaviour has reawakened interest in community/neighbourhood watch groups who proactively monitor activities in streets, schools, parks and other open spaces.

Communities can be a powerful force for improvement. Voluntary effort can transform the appearance of an area and increase the respect that people have for their environment.

We all know of individuals who are prepared to take a lead. People who are "good neighbours". Residents who go the extra mile to keep their neighbourhood clean and safe. York Community Pride aims to recognise those unsung heroes and to encourage others to behave in the same way.

The council is playing its part in improving the city, with hundreds of residents reporting service problems to the 551551 York Pride helpline. Business has responded by contributing over £130,000 to the York Business Pride fund which has already resulted in improvements to the Memorial Gardens and heightened interest in the York In Bloom competition.

Now we want all residents, young and old, to select a project in their neighbourhood and make a local improvement.

There is a small fund available which might be used, for example, for equipment hire. Residents should phone Rachel Rushforth on 01904 or email

I am very grateful to the Evening Press for helping us launch and run York Community Pride. Working together, the York community can make a real difference.

Coun Steve Galloway,

Leader of City of York Council

Updated: 14:39 Friday, April 23, 2004