Groundwork establishes national young green leadership programme

Groundwork is recruiting 12 young people to a Youth Advisory Board which will inform the environmental charity's Groundwork Youth initiative.

Young volunteers on a Groundwork project. Image: Groundwork UK
Young volunteers on a Groundwork project. Image: Groundwork UK

Groundwork Youth is a package of support for 16 – 24 year olds which develops their leadership potential and connects them with like-minded people to lead the debate on making places more sustainable.

As well as the 12 board members, Groundwork intends to sign up 100 Young Green Ambassadors to act as champions for the positive contribution young people make in their communities and lead campaigns highlighting issues that matter to them. 

The initiative was inspired by research which shows that young people spend more time in green spaces than other age groups yet have less say over what happens there. 

Meanwhile, research conducted by Business in the Community last year showing that 57% of 18 to 24-year-old Britons volunteer, more than any other age group.

Groundwork UK chief executive Graham Duxbury said Groundwork, which was established as a local group in St. Helens, Merseyside by Haymarket founder Michael Heseltine, aimed to help everybody feel more empowered to take action to improve their surroundings but had always taken a particular interest in helping young people become the active citizens and decision-makers of tomorrow.  

"This is not just because we believe in investing in those who will need to be stewards of our shared environment in the future but also because young people suffer environmental injustice now.

"Groundwork Youth is an opportunity for us to enhance our hands-on support for young people most in need with a campaign to generate a wider appreciation among young people of what they can do in their community to bring about change.  

"It is also a chance for us to equip a wider network of adults – in particular local community groups - with the skills and support needed to attract young volunteers and unleash their creativity in building networks, raising funds and raising the aspirations of their peers."

Speaking at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Lord Heseltine highlighted the positive role that horticulture can play in the renewal of deprived communities but said that government structures are missing the "place-based challenge" such communities present to local people.


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