Samantha Cameron says Boris Johnson’s plans for 10,000 volunteers are ‘brilliant’

30 June 2011

Evening Standard

Samantha Cameron today hailed Boris Johnson’s ambitious New York-style volunteering programme, which he believes will mobilise about 10,000 Londoners.

The Prime Minister’s wife appeared alongside the Mayor at City Hall to launch the £4.5 million Team London scheme which Mr Johnson says will create an “army of community-spirited volunteers”.

The Mayor hopes thousands of volunteers will now become the leaders of youth groups, plant trees, support learning activities for older people and help children who cannot read.

Speaking at the launch, Mrs Cameron said: “I know it’s going to make a big difference to this city.”

She added that “brilliant schemes” such as the Team London project “couldn’t function without the volunteers that take time to get stuck in and help out in their communities.”

The scheme was given £2 million by philanthropic organisation the Reuben Foundation and £2.5 million from City Hall. The foundation said it was proud to be able to initiate Team London.

Mr Johnson said he was inspired by the 2009 “Cities of Service Model” pioneered by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg which has spread to more than 100 American cities.

One of the aims of the London project is to improve the literacy of children aged between three and five.

Mr Johnson said: “All across the capital, ordinary Londoners are making an extraordinary difference by volunteering their time. We want to harness this goodwill and the generous philanthropy of the capital’s businesses, to make London a safer, cleaner, greener and stronger city.”

Mr Bloomberg said: “We are extremely proud that the approach to addressing pressing local challenges has made its way across the Pond, pioneered by Boris.”