Social enterprise Groundwork is celebrating 30 years of transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the North East for the better.
Groundwork, established in the region in 1985 and which has an employment office in Newton Aycliffe, delivers a range of social and environmental regeneration programmes that engage communities, private businesses and public sector partners to make sustainable change.
Its work embraces land and community improvement programmes, training and work placement schemes, projects to boost people’s wellbeing, and practical initiatives to tackle climate change and help businesses improve their environmental impact.
‘Green’ milestones and achievements during the last three decades have included:
• Encouraging 202,396 young people to become involved in community-enhancing projects.
• Helping 3,515 people into employment.
• Assisting people to gain 3,502 qualifications.
• Supporting 3,282 businesses.
• Improving more than 11 million hectares of land.
• Planting 153,959 trees.
Chief Executive Kate Culverhouse said: “Groundwork is very proud to have been at the heart of the North East community for 30 years.
“When looking back over the growth and development of Groundwork in the region during the last three decades, it has been both humbling and heartening to see how it has helped individuals and communities overcome, often, challenging circumstances to transform lives and communities.”
Groundwork’s roots lie in an ‘urban fringe experiment’ spearheaded by the Countryside Commission in the late 1970s that developed new approaches to restore and manage neglected and derelict land on the outskirts of conurbations where town met country.
This led to the first North East Trust being founded in Country Durham in 1985 to meet the needs of people and communities affected by the devastating impact of pit closures.
This Trust was soon joined by other areas across the region with Groundwork North East, a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, being incorporated in 2009.
Its 200-strong workforce comprises community development workers and project officers, landscape architects, employment and training specialists, education workers, business advisers and youth workers. Its staff work alongside 120 volunteers.
The aims of its projects include helping businesses to develop their green credential and reduce their environmental impact, improve people’s employment prospects and potential, enrich the quality of residents’ lives, and regenerate and enhance neighbourhoods.
Groundwork will be holding a series of celebratory events, which it will announce during the coming weeks.