Social enterprise Groundwork North East and Cumbria’s annual report has unveiled a series of significant achievements, including the creation of more than 500 jobs, during its 30thanniversary year.
Groundwork, which was established in 1985 and has an office in Newton Aycliffe, is dedicated to changing lives and changing places across the North East and Cumbria.
It fulfils its ambitions through a variety of life-enhancing projects including community space improvement schemes, training, volunteering and work placement schemes, and initiatives to help improve the wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem of local people.
Milestones and achievements during 2015/16 have included:
• Creating 540 jobs
• Helping 682 people progress into further education, training or employment
• Helping disadvantaged people drastically improve their employability through gaining 278 formal qualifications
• Improving and maintaining 334 hectares of land
• Supporting 357 community organisations
• Improving the wellbeing of 1,454 individuals through its health sessions
• Preventing 141 tonnes of CO2 emissions polluting the atmosphere
• Supporting 269 businesses
• Engaging 545 partner organisations
• Working pupiles of 235 schools
• More than 30,000 days of volunteering
Groundwork unveiled its annual report at its 101st AGM, which was held at its eco-friendly Greenhouse business centre, which also celebrated its milestone 10th anniversary earlier this year.
Groundwork chief executive Kate Culverhouse said: “I’m so very proud of everyone involved with Groundwork North East and Cumbria.
“Our annual report highlights the fantastic work that our staff, volunteers and partners have done over the last 12 months, and proves that with the right support and partnerships, we can make drastic improvements to our communities here in the North East.
“Groundwork was established at a time of social, political and economic challenge to help communities cope with change and work together to make their lives and neighbourhoods better. Thirty years on, we face similar pressures and that spirit of enterprise, charity and innovation has never been more needed.”
Groundwork’s projects work with people and communities from across the whole of the region and include:
• Working with residents of housing association Thirteen Group to create community gardens at its developments in Tees Valley. The project was shortlisted for the Construction Excellence North East Award’s ‘Residential’ category.
• Land of Oak and Irons Landscape Partnership, which over the next four years, aims to secure the historic landscapes of Derwent Valley and the surrounding area for future generations.
• Rethinking Parks, which worked with more than 200 volunteers from local businesses, including EE, Cummins and Darlington Building Society to revitalise Darlington’s parks.
• The National Citizens Service worked with more than 300 young people throughout the North East to provide them with an opportunity to improve their local communities and gain vital skills.
• In Cumbria, Groundwork is delivering training, volunteering and work experience opportunities at its gwk shop in Workington.
• Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD) is bringing together 12 organisations, already offering training and experience opportunities, under one umbrella with the aim of helping 650 people whose needs are not being met by existing services.