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Service Programs

"Break and Build" Service Projects in East London

The Olympic Games, which will take place in London in 2012, have sparked plans to regenerate some of the most neglected areas of East London in preparation for the momentous occasion. With already over 5,435 reports of violence this year within the areas desired to hold the events, there is concern that it’s not just the environment that needs regeneration. To prepare Londoners to welcome our guests from all over the world, we need to start regenerating the social fabric of our communities in the five Olympic boroughs: Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlet, and Waltham Forest.

Furthermore, 2008 is the year of Intercultural Dialogue in Europe. Ignorance is often the cause of cultural intolerance, and cultural intolerance, in turn, is one of the many causes of antisocial behavior. Through service projects, the Global Peace Festival in London wanted to help people to "discover the other" across racial and religious divides through dialogue, and also support young people to find commonalities by engaging in voluntary work. These intercultural events help young people, not simply understand each other, but also see how they can work together—the first and most important steps towards creating a culture of peace.

WAIT-UK, a performing arts group for young people that raises the awareness of HIV/AIDS, worked with the Global Peace Festival to "Break and Build," a series of community service projects that aim to raise the morale of young people throughout London and the Olympic boroughs and show youth that they can positively contribute to society through using their talents to foster a culture of peace and service.

Service projects took place in East Ham and West Dulwich on October 27-29, in Hackney on November 8, in Waltham Forest on November 12, and in Greenwich on November 20.

East Ham

The Hartley Centre is a community center in the heart of East Ham, on the East side of London. It is visited every week by around 1,300 local members of the public who use its facilities and programs, such as dance halls and lessons, youth groups, or adult learning opportunities. Together with WAIT-UK as part of the Break and Build project, the Hartley Centre hosted a service project including youth from their local youth groups, EAST-WAIT members and several international young people from Sweden, France, and Spain.

The project included creating works of art that will be displayed in various areas of the community center and remain as a lasting reminder of community and intercultural partnership.

Waltham Forest

On November 12, a service project took place in Waltham Forest. About 25 young volunteers gathered to take part, the majority consisting of international volunteers and some participants from the local community. With an overall enthusiastic spirit and armed with boots and rubber gloves, the volunteers started to clean up the front part of the river Ching.

In the space of two hours, 12 sacks were filled with rubbish. This resulted in a very noticeable change in the river and its surroundings. As the volunteers were picking up litter, people from the community stopped to show their gratitude and their desire to take part in future ventures.

To conclude the project, the participants took part in an interactive activity that brought them all together in having a better understanding of each other's different cultures and backgrounds.


A large regeneration project on November 20 involved cleaning up the banks of the river Thames in Greenwich as well as an intercultural activity with 100 young people.

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