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Neighbourhood Environmental Action Team

Groundwork and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) formed a project which would give local unemployed people the chance to gain new skills and work experience whilst making improvements to their neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood improvement projectsFollowing the successful Green Team project, which was a partnership project run with RBH to give 6-month paid employment to previously long term unemployed people, RBH asked Groundwork to develop and deliver a project which would see the progression of those involved. This would be done by offering employment on a fixed term contract to complete a planned programme of neighbourhood improvement projects

The aims of the project were as follows; to interview and employ 5 Rochdale residents on 12-month contracts who have previously completed the Green Team project, to work on skilled neighbourhood improvement projects on RBH land alongside building contractors, to support NEAT participants to complete the accredited qualifications and to provide suitable work experience and access to training to improve participants chances of finding permanent employment following the end of the NEAT contract.

Increasing skills and job opportunities for local peopleIn September 2010, five people were recruited and given employment contracts for 12-months with the NEAT scheme. Whilst enrolled on the programme, apprentices completed a wide range of training including the NVQ Level 2 Award in Horticulture (Landscaping) qualification. Participants put their skills into action by working alongside a number of contractors on two flagship developments and small scale redevelopments of communal areas at Hope St.

The NEAT team played an important role in the landscaping of the Dover Street and Waterloo Road new build housing developments in Rochdale. The work included planting, fencing, patios, drainage, revetment and a number of communal areas.
NEAT participant Kayne Walsh, aged 22 and from Middleton, said: “I got a lot out the NEAT programme. Not only did I learn a load of new skills, I gained a diploma and gained real work experience out on site in Rochdale.”

Gareth Swarbrick, Chief Executive of RBH said: “It is brilliant to see the results of this scheme. This is helping to maximise the impact of our new build development on the neighbourhood not only by improving the environment but by increasing skills and job opportunities for local people.”

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Project case study: Green Team