A charity in Northamptonshire is making the most of government funding – employing nine youngsters and putting them to work in allotments and green spaces across the county.
Groundwork Northamptonshire, which runs a youthwork programme and brings communities together through a number of green and creative projects, has used the government’s Kickstart Scheme to recruit the group of 16 to 24-year-olds, all previously on Universal Credit and considered to be at risk of long term unemployment.
Nathan Wearn-Hutter, Supervisor at The Green Patch – one of Groundwork Northamptonshire’s Kettering-based projects – said:
“We call our new recruits our ‘kickstarters’ and without exception they are not just doing a great job but are also learning new environmental skills, working as a team and thriving. This group will be with us for six months in total, and it’s going so well we are already planning a second round of recruitment.“
The majority of the charity’s nine kickstarters are working at The Green Patch, learning office and administration skills as well as the basics of allotment maintenance – planting, growing, building and preparing food.
Meanwhile, one of the new recruits is working at Twywell Hills and Dales, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest for botany in the East of the county which is managed by Groundwork Northamptonshire.
Luke Parker, 19, from Kettering, is the newly recruited Assistant Ranger Kickstarter at Twywell Hills and Dales:
“It’s an amazing feeling coming here. Just being on site makes me feel at home. I’m learning so much about different animals, flowers and about people. I am also spending time at The Green Patch, helping build planters for raised flower beds at The Green Patch. It’s a perfect mix.“
Another new recruit is Jonathan Mabey, 18, from Wellingborough, whose role includes transforming a tired pond area into a brand-new home for wildlife.
“With Groundwork encouraging people of all ages and abilities to visit us, it’s such a priority for us to create an easily accessible space for everybody, said Jonathan. “It really is lovely here and we all just love how accepting and rewarding this environment is.”
Groundwork Northamptonshire supports people from all backgrounds, with the team describing this organisation as follows:
Wherever you are born or live, everyone should have the right to access the same chances, and this is the belief that Groundwork has been built upon. With equality and inclusion at our core, we bring the people of Northamptonshire together through a number of green and creative projects. All this is underpinned by an exceptional youthwork programme, with Groundwork supporting more than 1,000 children and young people every year.
Through our range of initiatives, which include Green Patch, Made with Many and JAM Youthwork, we ensure everyone can access and enjoy green spaces, live a life filled with culture and creativity, and get the support they need to manage challenging times.
Groundwork is here to make a positive difference to lives – to inspire individuals to strive for more and to empower communities to come together.
The Kickstart programme as a whole is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions DWP.
One of projects the Groundwork Northamptonshire kickstarters are working on is the Groundwork Natural Neighbourhoods project. This project is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund – a fund that is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.