Marks & Spencer (M&S) and environmental charity Groundwork today announce the launch of a new campaign – @myurbangreen. The campaign will reconnect urban communities with their environment by being actively involved in shaping the future development, maintenance and management of their local ‘Greener Living Spaces', created by M&S and Groundwork over the past three years.

By September 2012, the programme aims to deliver at least 850 community green space activities and events, motivate 135,000 people to care for their local green space and support 300 ‘Friends of' or other community groups to increase their capacity to support local urban green spaces. Examples include green space maintenance, tree planting, community clean ups and hosting community events.

Community groups will be supported by a regional network of Groundwork green space experts who will be funded by M&S. They will be on hand to help with tips and ideas on how to identify and respond to local needs, recruit volunteers and design and deliver activities and events that raise the profile of their work.

The announcement is the latest development in the relationship between M&S and Groundwork – who last year opened the 100th ‘Greener Living Space' – a network of new or improved green spaces at the heart of communities all over the country.

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, said:

"@myurbangreen is a new, exciting programme that will create a dynamic legacy in communities across the UK for the ‘Greener Living Spaces' we have created with Groundwork. It will help local people take ownership of their green spaces and ensure they are fit for everyone to enjoy. It's simple and effective way for our customers to get involved in supporting their local communities.”

Sir Tony Hawkhead, Groundwork Chief Executive, added: “In Groundwork's experience, people are very passionate about their community gardens, parks and play areas and value the many benefits they provide. However, now, more than ever before, we need to find increasingly creative ways of protecting these much loved local spaces.

“@myurbangreen will create a network of communities across the UK that have the skills, confidence and necessary expert support to roll up their sleeves and respond to local green space issues.”

One of the first @myurbangreen events will be held at St James' Church in New Farnley, Leeds, this Sunday. 60 members and friends of the 8th South West Leeds Scout Group will be cleaning up the churchyard, cutting back vegetation and enjoying a winter picnic.

Follow us on Twitter: @myurbangreen

About Marks & Spencer and Groundwork

M&S has worked with Groundwork UK since May 2008, when the charity became the beneficiary of the 5p food carrier bag charge which was brought in to encourage customers to reduce the number of bags they use. Since then the initiative has reduced M&S food carrier bag usage by 80% (from 464 million in 2006/07 to 94 million in 2010/11) and raised over £4m for Groundwork. All of the 1.85 pence profit from the sale of single use food carrier bags between May 2008 and 21st June 2011 has been donated to Groundwork. Since July 2011 the profit from carrier bag charge has been donated to Forever Fish – M&S' campaign to help customers and their children learn more about fish, clean our British beaches and protect UK marine life.

About Groundwork

Groundwork is the community charity with a green heart. We want places to look better, streets to be safer and outside areas to be green and beautiful. We want people of all ages to be able to do stuff together to make the best of where they live. We want to improve job prospects by offering training and employment opportunities. We want to show people how they can make their homes and workplaces better for the environment and cheaper to run. To find out more go to http://www.groundwork.org.uk/.

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