Cake Friday!!

It has become a bit of a tradition around the VPA team to have cake on a Friday for our team meeting. This week we had a mega cake off with no less than 3 types of cake! Sarah, Colin and Jo all baked cakes in honour of Friday and more importantly Paul ‘the penguin’s Birthday. We had a chocolate and beetroot cake (Thanks Colin!), courgette cake with deliocious lime curd (Thanks Sarah!) and some lemon drizzle cupcakes…… to follow!

After the weekly team meeting the team got stuck into their understanding volunteering module. Today they have been learning about the benefits of volunteering and different volunteer involving organisations. Issues such as funding organisations, their management and frontline services provided have been covered.

This work will go towards their community volunteering qualification which they should complete by the end of the 12 week programme.


Initial Site Survey at Boarshaw Clough

The team were out on site on Boarshaw Clough for the first time on monday doing their initial site survey. First up was a brief tour of the site which fortunately was conducted under brilliant sunshine. After taking in the different habitats that are around on site and a spot of lunch the group split into three teams and went round looking for jobs to do over the next ten weeks of the scheme.


Paul, Gareth and Colin surveying.

By the end of the day the main priorities had been decided upon. Some of the footpaths needed alot of attention in regard to making them wider and removing obstructive vegetation (let strimmer training commence!). Also the team decided to try methods to improve water quality in the lodge in the coming weeks which would involve planting aquatic plant species and experimenting with silt traps. Also some of the Gabions on one path need attention and hopefully the missing stones in them can be reapplied along with alpine plants to bind them together more effectively and make them look more pleasing to the eye.

The team will be back on site getting stuck into these tasks every monday from september.

Out in the Peak District

The new VPA team has been getting to grips with digging out and laying footpaths as part of the Calver Weir Project near Grindleford in the Peak District.

Two wonderful days in the August sunshine saw the team rake stone onto over 100 metres of footpath as well as dig out foundations further up the path ready for new stone to be laid.

The team spreading the stone on the path.

In the evening everybody bonded over a variety of fun games including “whaa”; “I accuse”, “fruit equals John Prescott”, viking kub and Pro Action Football. Everybody ate like kings with recipes such as green thai curry on the menu.

 Some of the team playing Pro Action Football

Despite everybody being really tired at the end of the three days it was a throughly fun and productive trip where the team bonded and cultivated an appetite for their project work to come.

New team starts Monday!

After a frantic two weeks of evaluations, marking folders from the previous group, recruiting and interviewing we are now ready to welcome a new team of Graduates here at Groundwork on Monday 15th August! The Summer – Autumn team of Graduates will be working on a variety of new projects including Business Services, Fairtrade Oldham, Fresh Foods for Fresh pupils, Community Allotments, Community volunteering programmes and Mahdlo to name but a few! We will be getting our new team to upload their profiles in the first two weeks so please check back to see our new VPAs in action.



Final Presentation

The team with their certificates

The Spring Summer VPA team have now completed their 12 week placements.

The team presented their work to staff, family and friends at Groundwork on Friday 22nd July.

Sarah Lewington worked with the Communities team. Sarah planned and organised activities and coursework for the Derker Community Action team, assisted the Neighbourhood Community Involvement Skills team, researched and developed guided walks for the Reservoir Trails project and organised a plant survey of Boarshaw Clough for the VPA team.

Matt volunteered with the Communities team at Groundwork. Matt worked with the Neighbourhood Community Involvement team reviewing the programme and organising activities for residents to get involved with. Matt also worked on the Reservoir Trails project, planned a team day for the Princes Trust Programme with games and a BBQ at Boarshaw Clough.

Leanne Turner was a Community Project Assistant at Groundwork. Leanne assisted with the Reservoir Trails Project, NCIS, DCAT as well as writing a heritage lottery fund bid for Jubilee Nature Site and assisting Land with a planning application for an allotment site.

Sarah Laverty volunteered with the Education team on the Fresh Foods for Fresh pupils project. Sarah also created a fruit growing pack to distribute to local schools

Christian Knight was a volunteer on the Jubilous Jubilee project. Christian was responsible for researching and setting up a Friends of Group for the site, creating a blog site and planning Dog Waste composting bins to reduce the problem on site. Christian organised activities for the NCIS group and created marketing materials.


Liam Johnson volunteered on the Digital Inclusion Project and also supported the Princes Trust Team to source work placements for young people


Alice Kay volunteered with the Education team on the Fresh Foods for Fresh foods project. Alice created and delivered lessons, a growing pack for the retro fit house project and marketing materials for the Conservation work at Boarshaw Clough


Mohammed Jawad volunteered on the Fresh Foods for Fresh pupils project and designed a wildlife garden for a local school

After the nerve wracking presentation was complete the team enjoyed an afternoon of Mountain biking up at Hollingworth Lake followed by a meal out in Manchester! We wish all the team the best of luck for the future and hope to see you all soon!