18141Social enterprise Groundwork NE & Cumbria has unveiled a year of significant achievements at its AGM, which was held on the day it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Groundwork, which was established in 1985, is dedicated to changing lives and changing places across the region including Darlington, Teesside, Wearside, Tyneside and Northumberland and Cumbria

It delivers this through a wide range of life-enhancing projects including community space improvement programmes, training and work placement schemes, and initiatives to help improve residents’ wellbeing, health, confidence and self-esteem.

Milestones and achievements during 2014/15 have included:

  • Delivering 400 projects across the region working with some of the most disadvantages communities and individuals
  • Helping 530 people into work
  • Improving and maintaining 452 hectares of land
  • Planting 10,000 trees
  • Involving 41,977 participants in life and community-enhancing schemes
  • Diverting 1,457 tonnes of waste from landfill
  • Providing training for 1,271 individuals
  • Supporting 477 community groups
  • Organising health-focused sessions that engaged with 2,663 people

Groundwork highlighted the range of its work at its AGM, which was held at its horticultural nursery on Whickham Highway near Dunston.  It also showcased the plants grown at the gwknursery and products created at the gwkwoodshed, a community wood / furniture recycling enterprise, proceeds from which help fund its social enterprise commitments.

Kate Culverhouse, Groundwork Chief Executive, said: “This is a very special year for Groundwork as it celebrates three decades of changing places and changing lives across the North East.

“Our AGM gives us the opportunity to share our vision that with the right support, allied with working in partnership with like-minded organisations, including the private sector, communities across the region have the potential to be vibrant, sustainable and prosperous.”

Groundwork’s projects expand across the whole of the region:

  • Young people aged 16-17 from across Wearside helped to brighten up gardens at Grace House, in Southwick, ahead of the opening of the respite facility.
  • The Groundwork Street Eats project is delivered across the Tees Valley and Durham areas. It encourages and teaches people how to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs even if they only have room for a window box.
  • Healthy Parks Healthy Minds is a project which enables residents of South East Northumberland with severe and enduring mental health problems to engage in weekly supported environmental volunteering activities to improve skills and self-esteem.
  • The North Tyneside Changing our Thinking campaign aims to encourage local residents to do their bit to cut down on waste. During the next four years Groundwork will be working closely with the national charity WasteWatch and North Tyneside council to deliver the campaign across the region.  Under the campaign, schools also are being invited to pledge to recycle more, with the chance of winning £300 per term.
  • In Cumbria, Groundwork is focusing its programmes in Copeland, Carlisle and the Furness area to ensure that maximises its impact.  Its work in Ulverston has resulted from a range of project ideas that were identified by the Town Council, South Lakeland District Council, housing providers and the local communities. Initial projects in development include improving the access to the canal paths and setting up of local food growing projects.