It’s the end of an era for Groundwork this month as Chief Executive Sir Tony Hawkhead leaves to take up a new role as head of Action for Children.
Since being established on Merseyside in the early 1980s, Groundwork has had only two national chief executives. The first was the man whose idea it all was – the late John Davidson. He conceived and nurtured the idea of a charity harnessing the best of the state, business and communities to breathe new life into neglected corners of the country.
Tony took over the reins in 1996 and developed the founding principles of Groundwork, turning it into a multi-million pound organisation with an international reach.
Bob Lawson, Chairman of Groundwork, said: “Tony brought a unique combination of passion and pragmatism to Groundwork.
“He inherited an organisation filled with ideas and imagination but not reaching its potential. The most telling tribute to Tony is that in the last 17 years the organisation has changed completely and yet has remained entirely true to that original vision.
“The amount of money we raise and invest annually has increased fourfold. We now have delivery capability in every part of the UK. Our business units are much bigger and stronger. We have partnerships with major corporations and are in the thick of running large-scale government contracts. And yet we remain absolutely rooted in the communities we serve – using our creativity and contacts to help deliver better, greener lives in the places that need it most.
Explaining who would succeed Sir Tony as Groundwork chief executive, Mr Lawson added: “We are now entering the next phase in our development – one that’s full of opportunity but, as it is for many charities, equally full of uncertainty.
“Groundwork’s ability to work closely with government departments, the private sector and the public is paramount. We are pleased to announce that Graham Duxbury – who as Groundwork’s Development Director has been leading many of these relationships – will be taking on the role of chief executive of Groundwork UK.
“Graham has worked for Groundwork for 15 years and has a real passion for and commitment to the organisation. I look forward to working with him to take the organisation forward.”