Mayor launches own version of Big Society with ‘Team London’

04 March 2011

Funding for a London-based version of the Big Society has been secured by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson – with £4m in cash available to charities.

Mr Johnson wants the cash – £2m from the Reuben Foundation and £2m from the GLA – for ‘Team London’ to go towards tree planting, the scouting movement, maintenance and youth services.

He said the money was not to plug a funding gap for charities, but instead was meant to ‘add value’.

The cash from the foundation set up by property developers, Simon and David Reuben, will be particularly welcome to the mayor – a keen advocate of philanthropic investment in the capital.

He said: ‘This great capital was built on the generosity and philanthropy of some of the great titans of the 19th century.’

Mr Johnson also praised general citizens in the capital, with figures suggesting 72% of Londoners have taken part in some kind of informal volunteering, and 41% engaged in formal volunteering through an organisation.

He said: ‘I am continually humbled by some of the amazing, generous work Londoners do to make it a better place for us all.’

The mayor did not refer to David Cameron’s Big Society plans in detail, instead referring to New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s ‘cities of service’ volunteering scheme.

It comes as a poll in Metro revealed only 56% of people were aware of the Big Society policy. In the 16-24 age group the number fell to 36%.

Six schemes on youth literacy will be launched in the first round of funding.