Cameron praises Outward Volunteer Club for sprucing up east London’s waterways

Volunteers with learning disabilities have been recognised by the Prime Minister with a Big Society award for their club for transforming run-down open spaces along east London’s canals and waterways.

David Cameron has praised the Outward Volunteer Club, whose members have disabilities from mild to complex, working together for three years to improve neighbourhoods.

“The work this club does for people with disabilities is important in helping them play an active role in society,” he said. “They have achieved 3,000 hours of volunteering so far which is fantastic—I hope they continue helping more people join in activities to improve their areas.”

Club members have been collecting street litter, clearing canal paths and planting flowers.

Bow Lock has been spruced up. Litter and undergrowth has been cleared from a neglected stretch of the Regent’s and Hertford Union canals, improving public access along towpaths around Globe Town and Mile End.

The project covering five Olympic boroughs including Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Newham had 71 volunteers who between them have carried out 3,360 hours’ work. They include seven members with severe learning disabilities who have been accepted as official Olympic volunteers, 15 recruited to support others with learning disabilities including four now in workplace volunteering and three in paid jobs.

The volunteers now plan to turn their attention to the Lea river between Hackney Wick and Bow Creek, as part of the Thames 21 charity’s rejuvenation campaign.