Resilient River Valleys project to start in September


Groundwork Greater Manchester, City of Trees and the Mersey Rivers Trust will begin delivering the ‘Resilient River Valleys’ project from September 2021 thanks to funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The one-and-a-half-year project focuses on using nature-based solutions, such as tree planting, woodland management, leaky dams and tiny forests, to help mitigate the effects of climate change in Manchester’s river valleys and urban green spaces.

Example of a mini forest, created at Manchester Flower Show

New Green Jobs

The Resilient River Valleys project will create 41 green jobs, including Urban Rangers, Team Leaders, Community Link Officers, a Drone Pilot and a Natural Environmental Tutor. Working alongside local authorities and housing providers, Groundwork will co-ordinate and deliver an innovative programme of green skills training for new trainees, partner staff, residents and community groups.

Ranger teams will work with local community volunteers on rewilding projects, woodland management and wetland creation, creating botanically diverse stepping stones for nature within urban Manchester.

Kickstart - team at work

Young people on the Kickstart programme, starting their new careers in the green economy.

Green Recovery Challenge Fund

The project is one of ninety nature projects across England to be awarded a grant from the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which was created to boost green jobs and support nature to recover, and is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change.

Connecting people with nature was at the heart of the government programme and is integral to Groundwork’s mission. With almost 40% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds living in the most greenspace deprived areas, compared to 14% of white people (source: Friends of the Earth)  this project seeks to restore this imbalance and connect more people with the river valleys that run through the city of Manchester.

The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies.  The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission and will support 2,500 jobs in England whilst accelerating the implementation of nature-based projects, from new ‘insect pathways’ in our countryside and towns, to tree planting projects in deprived urban areas.


Venetia Knight, Head of Employment & Enterprise at Groundwork Greater Manchester commented:

“We are extremely excited to be leading on this innovative project creating new jobs in the green economy and offering a green skills training programme which provides local communities with the skills and resources they need to introduce nature-based solutions in their neighbourhoods and urban greenspaces.”

Cllr Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s executive member for environment, added:

“Throughout the pandemic we have all understood the true importance of our local green spaces, but the impact of climate change will impact these resources more and more, particularly urban riverways. This funding will deliver the twin benefit of investing in interventions to mitigate climate change, improving green amenity for our residents, while also providing opportunities for Manchester people to develop skills and take up new green employment. Both will prove extremely important as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.”  

Jessica Thompson, Director at City of Trees, added:

“We’re delighted to be working with Groundwork Greater Manchester and the Mersey Rivers Trust to deliver nature-based solutions to climate change in the river valley areas of Greater Manchester. As well as the project contributing to the future of these green spaces it also vitally supports the future of local people through the creation of green jobs, of which we’re incredibly supportive of.”

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