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Press Release

Roll up your sleeves and earn back free travel
27-8-2009   441

The Mayor of London has kept his election promise to give young people that have their free travel cards taken away due to bad behaviour the opportunity to earn them back through community work. From mid September youngsters whose Zip cards are withdrawn will be able to earn them back by volunteering to get their hands dirty working on environmental projects around the capital.

One of the first groups of youngsters to earn back their right to free travel in London were joined by the Mayor today (27 August). Boris Johnson rolled up his sleeves and helped the volunteers working on an environmental conservation project in Dulwich at the London Wildlife Trust.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Free travel is unquestionably one of the most valuable concessions available to young people in the capital. We do have to take Zip cards away from young people who behave badly on the bus but I don’t think we should just write those kids off. By offering them a chance to volunteer to earn back their travel we are saying roll up your sleeves, dig in, help your city and we’ll help you. I hope that as well as earning back their Zip card the youngsters taking part in the scheme will learn a little about the pleasure that can be had from volunteering for environmental work and most importantly to respect our great city.”

Taking part in  ‘Earn your travel back’ will be organised by v (the National Young Volunteers Service). Young people who have their free travel withdrawn will be invited to contact v who will then arrange for them to take part in a days work for either BTCV (formerly the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) or London Wildlife Trust.
Transport for London’s Zip cards are validated up to 16 million times  a month in the capital. However TfL has withdrawn free travel from 3,864 youngsters for breaches of the behaviour code since the scheme was introduced in June 2008.
Free travel is withdrawn for a minimum of six months but young people will now be able to earn the privilege back by taking part in a day of environmental conservation work. The exception is if free travel has been withdrawn as a result of criminal behaviour as the scheme is intended to deal with youngsters who have their travel withdrawn due to consistently bad behaviour such as bullying, the use of threatening language or defacing cards.
Rachel Oliver, Head of Programmes at v, commented “This initiative is a fantastic way for young people to get a taste of volunteering and all its benefits for them and for their community. Most of these young people are new to volunteering and our research shows that once a young person has tried volunteering they are more likely to want to do so again.”

Carlo Laurenzi OBE, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust, said " The Trust is delighted to be working with the Mayor on this new initiative. We value the contribution young Londoners can make in improving our natural environment and strive to make conservation and environmental volunteering an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.”
Alan Marchant, Senior Operations Manager, for BTCV London said: "BTCV is delighted to be part of this scheme. We hope that by taking part in this scheme young people will not only benefit by getting their Zip card re-instated but that they will have a great sense of achievement working on projects that will make a positive difference to their communities. They will get the opportunity to find out more about their local environment and experience the fun and enjoyment that come from working as part of a team in the outdoors. "

David Brown, Managing Director Surface Transport, Transport for London said:  “With Earn Your Travel Back in place young people who lose their free travel through misbehaving on London’s buses and trams will have the chance to earn it back - making them appreciate its value, and helping us make the network a more pleasant environment for everyone.”


Notes to Editors

· The National Young Volunteers Service, aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers (aged 16-25) in England. It does this by supporting and funding voluntary organisations all over England to create inspiring, diverse opportunities and by helping to overcome barriers that stop people from taking action to improve lives, communities and the planet.

· v’s aim is to create a culture where volunteering comes naturally and where the benefits of volunteering are understood and celebrated.

· v is an independent charity launched in May 2006 as a result of the Russell Commission report, A National Framework for Youth Action and Engagement. 

· See for more information on what they do and how they do it.
London Wildlife Trust

· London Wildlife Trust is the only charity dedicated solely to protecting the capital's wildlife and wild spaces.   The Trust manages over fifty nature reserve sites across the capital that are exemplars of urban conservation land management and which engage the local communities that use the sites.  They deliver projects focusing on protecting priority habitats and species in London and work to influence policy makers.

· London Wildlife Trust engages diverse communities through access to our nature reserves, volunteering programmes and education and outreach work.  The Trust values the important contribution of young people can make to the health of our natural environment and works hard to engage young Londoners in a variety of ways. They run a number of education and outreach projects aimed at young people and seeks to make conservation and environmental volunteering relevant and fun. 

· Visit or contact

· 2009 is BTCV’s 50th anniversary.  The charity now forms the world’s largest team of green volunteers.  They make a significant impact on the UK and International environment by inspiring 300,000 people to look after more than 50,000 places.
Their work includes
-       Regular conservation tasks across the UK
-       UK & International Conservation Holidays
-       BTCV Green Gym
-       Training from hedgelaying and NVQs in Environmental Conservation to helping unemployed people get back into work

Tel: 01302 388 883  Email:


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