Delivering a greener, fairer and stronger future for all people, communities and places within Greater Manchester form the core of a three-year plan launched today (Tuesday 2nd May), by Groundwork Greater Manchester.
Recently appointed executive director, Deborah Murray, has been with Groundwork Greater Manchester for 11 years and was appointed to lead the charity last summer, replacing outgoing executive director, Mike Ormerod.
Groundwork Greater Manchester forms part of the national federation of Groundwork charities, working locally and nationally. The charity works with a wide range of partners, from the public, private and voluntary sectors, to deliver its projects and ensure they reach those individuals and communities who need them most.
In Deborah’s first strategic plan since taking up her new role, the charity has launched three key initiatives which build on their existing work with people, communities, and in places across Greater Manchester, to address inequality and tackle the environmental emergency: –
1) For people: Groundwork Green Skills Academy
2) For communities: A Greater Manchester network of Green Community Hubs
3) For places: A major resilient landscapes programme
People who are currently at the greatest distance from the labour market will be armed with the right skills to access green jobs through Groundwork’s new Green Skills Academy. Specialist teams and employment coaches will offer advanced training opportunities and create pathways in to work within the natural environment, retrofit and green construction sectors.
Communities with limited access to quality green spaces will be supported by the development of Groundwork’s Green Community Hubs. These will be vibrant social spaces where people can host community activities, and where communities can gain better access to nature and the outdoors, in turn reducing health inequalities. These hubs will also provide bases for Groundwork’s other support services, such as training, coaching and mentoring, and energy advice within a community setting.
Finally, taking a place-based-approach, Groundwork will develop and implement in partnership, major resilient landscape programmes of a scale able to deliver higher quality, accessible greenspace where it is needed most; measurable climate adaptation and biodiversity improvements; and associated benefits for local communities including improved wellbeing. Through the delivery of these programmes, Groundwork will also create more green jobs for local people, completing the circle back to their Green Skills Academy.
Deborah said that the support provided by Groundwork has “never been more needed” and would “mobilise practical action that delivers environmental and social justice.”
She added: “The people we work alongside experience exclusion, prejudice and inequality in their daily lives and are often struggling with their mental health, financial stress and climate anxiety. Our work will have a significant impact by engaging communities in sustained and collective action for climate and nature, improving skills and creating jobs in the green economy, and providing new greenspace and associated benefits in the places where it is needed most.”
Deborah continued: “I have big ambitions for Groundwork Greater Manchester and I am very excited about what lies ahead.
“We are always open to new and innovative partnerships with those who share our vision of a greener, fairer and stronger Greater Manchester and would strongly encourage any businesses or organisations who would like to get involved and work with us to get in touch.”
Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, a key strategic partner of Groundwork, said: “Groundwork plays a very significant role in making Greater Manchester a better place for our people and our communities to thrive.
“We are very proud to be one of their key partners because we share Deborah and the teams’ vision and ambitions for our city region. All the initiatives included in their three-year plan will be transformational in helping us to tackle social inequality and create new and exciting projects which will have a significant impact on tacking the impact of climate change in those places and communities which need it the most.”