As we settle into 2024 it feels like we’re living in a world of extremes and contradictions. Last year has been confirmed as the hottest on record with climate change and natural systems combining to bring more extreme weather, impacting first and worst on those with least protection.

Meanwhile, this winter, millions of people in Britain are living in cold, damp homes, unable to afford some of the basic necessities of life. As we gear up for a general election in the UK, political dividing lines risk stoking division within and between communities, while financial pressures on health, care and local government mean many of the services on which we rely are under threat.

Often these pressures can seem overwhelming, with our lives buffeted by forces beyond our control – from global energy markets to conflict-driven migration. That’s why it’s so important that we invest in our communities, and in the social infrastructure that helps people come together, learn and organise. Helping people take collective, practical action to improve their health, to protect local environments, to kickstart social enterprises, to help deal with emergency situations such as flooding not only brings about change in the here and now, but also builds the resilience we need to navigate future challenges.

One of the few upsides of the interconnected crises we’re facing is the recognition that we need inter-connected solutions. We know that climate change creates environmental injustice, with those worst off in society more vulnerable to its impacts and least able to access environmental benefits such as good green spaces, renewable technologies and fresh food. We also know that the best way of managing rising costs and tackling poverty is to lead more sustainable lifestyles –reducing waste and energy and changing our travel and consumption habits. Add to this the societal benefits of improving physical and mental health through connecting with nature and creating a low-carbon economy with good, green jobs and we have a blueprint for a fair and green future in which people, places and nature thrive.

This is the thrust of Groundwork’s new five-year strategy, through which we aim to help more people improve their prospects, create better places and protect the planet – a joined-up approach that empowers people and communities and brings the benefits of sustainability to all sections of society. Changing the world, one green step at a time, relies on action at all levels – if you’re leading your community to bring about local change, helping our work as a volunteer or fundraiser or partnering with us to deliver programmes or influence policy, thank you – we look forward to continuing our relationship in the year ahead.

Groundwork UK CEO, Graham Duxbury

Notes to Editors

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About Groundwork

Groundwork is a federation of charities with a collective mission to take practical action to create a fair and green future in which people, places, and nature thrive. We support communities and businesses to build capacity and resilience in order to tackle hardship, achieve a just transition to net-zero and help nature recover in a way that reduces inequality and leads to healthier, happier lives for all: