NEWS: Groundwork receives Co-op Foundation grant to empower young people to improve community green spaces

Groundwork has received a £69,990 grant from the Co-op Foundation to continue its work helping young people improve local spaces.

Groundwork ‘Green Leaders’ is a free programme that offers young people a mentor and hands-on support for them to design, create and start campaigns, events and action groups that improve the local environment, including greenspace projects.

The programme is designed to support young people to become advocates for change in their community all while building the confidence, knowledge, and skills that lead to positive social action.

Green Leaders is open to young people aged 16-20 across Greater Manchester, London, Northamptonshire and the West Midlands. Those who are chosen to be a part of the programme will be part of a group of a select 40 young people who share a passion for environmental action.

Given the current Covid-19 restrictions, Green Leaders will be run online in the initial stages including mentoring support to kick-start their project, covering project design, public speaking, and media training all of which are designed to equip young people with the tools they need to advocate for change.

Work will run for the next two years and more than 80 young people are expected to get involved. It builds on a previous Co-op Foundation grant that saw young people designing projects, from producing nature guides to creating wildflower patches to running workshops on climate action.

Grants are from the Co-op Foundation’s #iwillFund. The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill Campaign that wants to make social action a part of life for as many 10 to 20-year-olds as possible.

It’s vital that we instil a sense of empowerment in young people to ensure that they feel confident to be an integral part of making their local area a better place to be. Given the circumstances we are all living in at the moment, any support we can offer young people to ensure they can improve their local places and spaces will be of great benefit to all involved. We look forward to seeing the innovative projects put forward.

Graham Duxbury, National Chief Executive, Groundwork

Our partnership with the #iwill Fund has shown the positive impact young people can have when they have the power to take action on issues they care about. Grants awarded through this fund will empower young people to improve spaces that matter to them, making life better for local communities and building on their own skills and confidence.

Jamie Ward-Smith, Chair of the Co-Op Foundation

Co-op Foundation is the Co-op’s charity. It helps people challenge inequality and co-operate for change so they can share a fairer future.

The #iwill Fund is a £50 million joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. The Co-op Foundation acts as a match funder.

Co-op Foundation has already awarded over £3m in grants since it first partnered with the #iwill Fund in 2017.

Green Leaders will open for application on Friday 19 February until Sunday 21 March 2021. More information can be found on the Green Leaders webpage.



For further information, please contact:

About Groundwork

 Groundwork is a charity working locally and nationally to transform lives in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities. We’re passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny and no one is held back by their background or circumstances. We help people gain confidence and skills, get into training and work, protect and improve green spaces, lead more active lives and overcome significant challenges such as poverty, isolation, low skills and poor health:

About the Co-Op Foundation

  • Co-op Foundation is the Co-op’s charity, helping people challenge inequality and co-operate for change so they can share a fairer future.
  • We want to make long-lasting change but for now we’re focusing on three areas:
    • Our Belong projects have already helped thousands of young people beat loneliness. We’re now sharing what we’ve learned so others can do more to make a difference that lasts.
    • Strong communities work together to make things better. We fund in partnership with others to help people do even more.
    • We want voices to be heard from communities that feel the effects of inequality, and we invest in organisations that truly represent those who are often ignored.
  • Find out more:

About the #iwill Fund

  • The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £50 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
  • The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.
  • The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.
  • By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.

About the #iwill Campaign

  • The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 partners from across the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020, wherever they live and whatever their background.
  • The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people to engage in social action. The campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588).
  • HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign. For more information, visit and follow @iwill_campaign

About The National Lottery Community Fund

  • We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
  • We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
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