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The first winner of our 'Make London Better' competition is announced!

Written by
Liz Darke

Back in the summer (you remember those distant days, right?) we asked you for your ideas of how to make our city a better place. The competition, in partnership with GoFundMe, was inspired by the creative projects that we saw popping up around the city – like Brixton’s The People’s Fridge, where the community can donate/receive food depending on their situation. The prize was a £5k preloaded GoFundMe page and the chance to see your idea come to life.

With 100 words to sell us your project, you did us proud. We received over 400 entries, which included ideas as varied as communal umbrellas, renting dogs to go running with and an online befriending service for refugees. Some issues popped up again and again – you really care about homelessness right now. Perhaps that’s not surprising given the dramatic increase in people sleeping rough in the capital (in 2016 there were twice as many people facing homelessness than in 2010, according to charity Crisis).

Our judges picked two winners. The first is Rav Kumar Foolheea. Rav came up with an idea so people can help rough sleepers without the need for spare change. ‘I don’t carry any coins or notes on me,’ he says. ‘Since we’re moving to a cashless society, when a homeless individual asks me for change I never have any.’ His plan is to create a contactless donation system so that you can cover the cost of a hot meal or a night in a hostel, right there and then. We’ll be launching the GoFundMe page for his idea early next year. Our second winner has also been chosen – we’ll be announcing them next year too, when we have more details to share.

We had so many brilliant entries, so below are some of the ones that we loved, but didn’t quite take the prize. Our four runners-up are:

Jacinta Hayden
‘Apparently one of the things donated least to charity is socks. To help the homeless in London I would love to run a campaign to ask Londoners to donate sock parcels so they can be distributed to a wide range of homeless charities.’ 

Amy Chichester
‘I think we need water fountains where people can refill bottles and reduce plastic waste, ideally in tube stations, if there’s space, otherwise nearby or in high footfall areas.’ 

Magda Wardyn
‘As a runner (so-called) and now as a mum and a buggyrunner I often go to London parks. My idea is to get dogs from shelters and take them for a run too. You’d borrow them from a shelter, leave your ID and off you go!’ 

Asnia Ramdane and Beats Collective UK
‘We would like to match London-based people with recently arrived individuals, asylum seekers and refugees to share skills, job information, legal advice etc. We would like to offer free informative events about the refugee crisis and start weekly gatherings.’

We want to give a huge thank-you to our judges – entrepreneur Rohan Silva, trans activist Charlie Craggs, Brendan Cox and Gemma Mortensen from the Jo Cox Foundation, and our own Editorial Director Caroline McGinn – and to everyone who took the time to enter. You showed us that London is full of people who want to make our city a little bit better. 

if you think you could help to make one of the ideas above a reality, drop us a line at with the subject line ‘Make London Better'.

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