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Talking amazing community spaces with George Clarke

Earlier this year, we hosted our Building Better Communities awards ceremony to give something back to the hard working, local initiatives across the UK. We were joined by architect and broadcaster George Clarke who told us why he thinks supporting local projects is so important…

Hi George! Did you enjoy the Building Better Communities awards ceremony this year?

Absolutely, it’s been fantastic. This is one of the nicest awards ceremonies I’ve ever been to. Normally you get your five nominees and only one person wins, then you see everyone else looking miserable in the bar afterwards! But everyone’s a winner here!

Why did you get involved in Building Better Communities?

I just think it’s a fantastic initiative. It gives people the opportunity to work together on a project and, ultimately, makes a difference to people’s lives. You think about all the bad things going on in the world, the stuff that we read in the news and the things we can’t change and you can get caught up in it. But what events like this prove is that actually, we can make a massive difference to the people who mean a lot to us and the communities we care about.

How important do you think community projects are in the UK?

I think community projects in the UK are vital. More than anything they are about bringing people together. That’s the most important part. When I’ve been on building projects I’ve seen first-hand how working with others results in an even greater sense of satisfaction. Everyone has a task to do, everyone makes a contribution and, by the end, you know that you’ve really made a difference. With community projects, you’re transforming the spaces where you live and work. It’s personal and it gives you an incredible sense of pride and ownership.

What do you think tradespeople can bring to community projects?

When tradespeople get involved in community projects it really shows off their skills and their craftsmanship, which is brilliant. It’s a good way to help people understand how much time and effort goes into building something, which I think a lot of people underestimate. Once you’ve got everyone in – builders, carpenters, joiners, painters and the rest – it becomes quite a fine art. It’s good for the community to see the sort of hard work which is involved in the progression of construction work: hard work, but really rewarding work. Most of all, bringing trades together with members of the community builds relationships and friendships. It doesn’t get much better than that.