Man behind #riotcleanup launches volunteering website

#WeWillGather, set up by Dan Thompson, aims to help people give small amounts of time for community projects

#WeWillGather website
#WeWillGather website

The man who used social media to mobilise thousands of people to clean up their communities after the 2011 riots has set up a new volunteering website.

Dan Thompson, who started #riotcleanup on Twitter after town centres across England were hit by violence, has created the website #WeWillGather, which aims to make it easier for people to volunteer small amounts of their time or for one-off projects.

Thompson has received £100,000 from the Innovation in Giving Fund, the £10m fund run jointly by the innovation funder Nesta and the Cabinet Office, to get the idea off the ground.

Thompson is an artist and author who specialises in writing about the reuse of empty shops and how to create pop-up shops. 

Twitter will be used to source large number of volunteers to perform community tasks, such as clearing allotments, litter picks or cleaning up after flood damage.  

"This is a new service that integrates Twitter and is very simple to use," said Thompson. "All you have to do is tweet our #WeWillGather hashtag, a postcode and the word ‘help’ to get started. This sends a message to our website and we’ll send a link back to you with a form to complete online. Then you can begin mobilising people to help."

He said the website would help people fit a short amount of volunteering into their busy lives. "Rather than big riot clean-up events, our aim now is to make lots of small differences all over the country," he said.

The site has just gone live to coincide with the first anniversary of the riots, but will officially launch on 11 September.

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