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Neighbourhood Cleaning Initiatives
Published on Saturday, 20 October 2012

Neighbourhood Cleaning InitiativesPeople like to complain that the government isn't doing anything for them or for the communities. And while this may be true at times, there is a lot that individuals can do to improve their communities on their own. One such action comes in the form of neighbourhood cleaning initiatives. These brigades of  sorts can be organized by the residents of a particular neighbourhood, borough or community on a regular or semi-regular basis. There are many benefits to this type of initiative. The most obvious one is, of course, cleaner streets and neighbourhoods. But these initiatives can serve to create a sense of community, to help people get to know each other and interact, and to just allow everyone to spend a nice day out in good weather among interesting people. So what are some things to know when you're organizing one such activity.

1.    First of all, while you probably can organize a neighbourhood cleanup by yourself, doing it on your own will probably make things much more difficult that they really should be. In contrast, if you gather a team of people first and assign everyone specific tasks, the whole event can be organized in no time and it will go off without a hitch. Do not be afraid to delegate and assign tasks.

2.    Publicity is important. In a small neighbourhood word of mouth might be enough to get the momentum going, but if you're trying to organize a larger initiative, make sure to use all of the tools at your disposal. Social networks such as Twitter or Facebook can be used extremely effectively to alert lots of people of the event. They also have the added benefit of letting you know roughly how many people are going to show up. Do not rely too much on these numbers though, as sometimes people might not mark their attendance, or they might give up in the last minute - the best thing is to prepare yourself for the maximum amount of people that you think could show up and work from there. Flyers and posters aren't a good way to raise awareness, as they can be costly to make and in the end only further pollute the neighbourhood. Avoid these altogether, but do try to use all other available outlets to publicize the event.

3.    Gather supplies. At minimum you're going to need a pair of single use rubber gloves for each participant and a bin bag for every group of three or four people to gather the rubbish. Try to let everyone know that they should bring their own supplies, however get extras to have on hand for anyone who forgets or isn't aware that they need to bring their own. There will be lots of these people.

4.    Try to get everyone not only aware, but excited about the event. Maybe get together with a few people to organize a party afterwards. Or get the neighbourhood band to play an impromptu gig before the cleanup. Remember that a secondary goal of the initiative should be to strengthen the community and the best way to do this is to get everybody to actively participate, interact and have fun.

5.    Perhaps try to get a few local businesses to sponsor the event? Get pledges and maybe raise a small donation per every full bin bag or every hour of the clean up. This money could later go towards restoring a local playground, a community centre or any other cause that the community collectively settles upon.
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