Thirty Years in South Tyneside, helps thousands

Environment and regeneration charity Groundwork is celebrating 30 years of success operating in South Tyneside, since it commenced its journey of helping to transform lives and places, when it began operating in 1991.

Groundwork successes in South Tyneside have included supporting thousands of people into work, apprenticeships or training, and rejuvenating swathes of urban green spaces.

The charity, which works under the following themes – create sustainable communities, raising aspirations, enriching lives and create better places – delivers a wide range of programmes and services from education enrichment programmes to community programmes such as Green Gym, Marsden Road Health & Wellbeing Centre and GW Shop.

Groundwork has been able to achieve its successes and outcomes through working with amazing partners, who have been instrumental in helping deliver its vision of ‘changing places, changing lives’.

CEO, Andrew Watts said: “In 30 years we have achieved a great deal in rejuvenating urban areas and helping people gain learning and training that have improved their lives. We are so proud of what we have achieved over the past three decades, from supporting people into work to opening Jarrow Hall in 2016, we continue to deliver our vision of changing places, changing lives. Groundwork is a dynamic organisation that allows its staff and volunteers to grow, and through this approach we have been able to fulfil this vision across South Tyneside since 1991.

As we celebrate this milestone, I would like to acknowledge the contribution to Groundwork that our Trustees, Derrick Robson and Mark Charlton have made to the success and impact over the past 30years. Derrick and Mark have been involved in Groundwork since day one, and have supported the charity through both the good and the challenging times, particularly during both their terms as Chair of the Board. On behalf of the Board, staff, volunteers and partners, we are eternally grateful to Derrick and Mark for their dedication and support.”

Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council said: “The Council has a long-standing and successful partnership with Groundwork. It has a large portfolio of activities but what underpins all of them is a passion for innovation and finding solutions to help the wider communities they serve.

30 years on Groundwork continues to deliver against its original vision and it continues to work with us, the Council, to make South Tyneside an outstanding place to live, invest and bring up families. It is by working in partnership with South Tyneside Council, collectively we have been able to find new delivery models of service delivery and have been able to bring about positive change in the Borough.


Groundwork has an important role in harnessing resources to undertake schemes which are beyond the reach of the public authorities. Working closely with the private sector and local community to bring finance, energy, imagination and a collaborative approach, we look forward to working in partnership with Groundwork over the next 30 years and beyond.”

Derrick Robson, Trustee and Chair added, “It has been a great privilege for me to be the Chair of the organisation twice in the past 30years. Having been involved in the initial discussions around the establishment of Groundwork to being a Trustee since 1991, the role has its challenges over the past 30years but I have enjoyed working with superb people and partners to deliver the impact you see today. I am so proud to see the charity grow from 3 employees to the 69 staff we have today, as well as providing over 20 employment opportunities through the Kickstart programme.

I will really miss the organisation when I step down on 25th November, but I know that I will always be part of the Groundwork family, I wish the team all the best for the next phase of our journey, as our work has never been more needed than ever before due to the pandemic and impact of climate change.’’

Mark Charlton, Trustee added, “I have really enjoyed supporting Groundwork over the past 30 years, it’s a fabulous organisation that is true to its vision of Changing Places, Changing Lives. Over the past 30years, we have been involved in so many projects and it’s easy to see the physical projects that we have implemented but it’s the social and community projects that I will remember with the most pride. Getting people into a job for the first time, supporting young people to gain a qualification, seeing volunteers benefiting from green exercise and children connecting with nature, these are the things that I am going to miss the most, as well as the commitment of the other Trustees, staff and volunteers.

Groundwork has also provided me, personally, with a lot of opportunities over the years. I have met so many great people and developed my knowledge around really important issues such as climate change. I wish Groundwork all the best for future.”