VPA final team trip!


For the last day of the VPA Programme our volunteers chose to go to Platt Fields Park Fun Fair for their celebration day! We arrived at the park in time for an ice cream and a leisurely game of Kubb before heading over to the fair go on lots of rides.



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We finished the day with a delicious curry in Rusholme. It’s been another fantastic team of Graduate volunteers and we look forward to hearing from you all soon to let us know what you are doing next!



Residential !

Last week I had the opportunity to join Team 115 of The Princes Trust Team programme on their residential. I managed to get a tonne of good photos and video, including a 4 day video diary I will upload asap !
I had such a good week, I helped take part in activities like Hiking, Rock Climbing, Caving, Traversing and Abseiling.

– MikeIMG_3490









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VPA beach day!

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Yesterday the VPA team got together for a team building trip out to the beach. Every month on the programme we have a day away from the projects to reflect and have fun 🙂
We had a picnic, parachute games and competed in the VPA beach olympics! Events included the crab race, a fancy dress relay, hula – athlon and ring toss.
Rashid made a delicious Banana cake (hopefully he will share the recipe on here soon!)
Can’t wait for the next one in August.

External VPA Placements Update

New VPA team
Alongside our Volunteer Project Assistants based at Groundwork we also run an external volunteer programme in partnership with Oldham Council, Oldham Evening Chronicle and Bulky Bobs to provide a wider range of placement options for adults and graduates. Here is the latest update from the new team!

After our initial settling in period of the first week, we external VPA’s for Groundwork were finally getting into the swing of things. For starters, Spencer Garlick, a VPA member who is working to improve his skills in construction, was helping on a building site in Langley, Rochdale, to improve the houses in the area as part of a local government project. Spencer really enjoyed his week however, the project was hampered by some delays in getting vital construction equipment to the site to enable the project to be finished on time. Despite this, the workers, including Spencer, toiled on to help make up some lost time before Manchester Radio came to interview some of the workers about the project. Although Spencer himself didn’t get interviewed, some of his colleagues did which he enjoyed watching whilst he carried on plastering!
Our second VPA, Ndanji, was back in her placement for the council working in housing and local area projects. This week she was involved in handing out leaflets within the local area to promote how to manage your money for an upcoming event. She also undertook meetings to discuss local neighbourhood improvements as well as dealing with neighbourhood complaints.
Our third VPA, Katy, had a shorter week at her placement at the Oldham Chronicle this week due to having a few days off to attend her university graduation, however, she still had an interesting week. She was sent on a reporting errand at Mahdlo Youth Zone in Oldham as part of her work for the All That youth magazine she is project managing along with her colleague Laura. The task was to report on a session young people were running, where issues young people discovered when trying to get a job were discussed and tips were given. She interviewed several people including young people from the borough, staff at Mahdlo and Oldham’s resident Youth Mayor. She had never undertaken a reporting task before but she felt the experience was a very useful addition to her skill set.
Sadly, two of our VPA’s, Jackie and Laura were ill this week but we look forward to hearing about their experiences at our next meeting.

A final thanks from this blog must also go out to Gemma and Jo for taking us out on Monday for our team building day to the Naked Bean café for some lunch, as well as to Alexandra park for some hot weather orienteering and a well-deserved ice cream.

Naked bean cafe Oldham

Alexandra Park Oldham


Until next week,

Groundwork’s external VPA team!

A year in the life of the VPA programme

A look back at the VPA Programme in 2012!


In January we welcomed 10 new VPAs to the trust. We went on a chilly residential to the Peak District – provided by Peak Park Conservation Volunteers. The team soon warmed up with an activity of Hawthorn clearance and (very safe and controlled) burning!


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In February the team had some fun trips out to Lightshaw Meadows with the Greater Manchester Forest Network as part of a skills share and to Groundwork Offshoots project to learn about permaculture and food growing.

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We also welcomed Jeanette and Sam who joined the All That team at the Oldham Evening Chronicle to make the second edition of the Oldham’s dedicated youth magazine.

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In March our team delivered some fantastic projects and we celebrated their achievements. Two of our volunteers, Annie and Natalie, even got to go on a trip to Pakistan as part of a partnership project with Voluntary Action Oldham!


Isabel Mactague was succesful in gaining a job here at Groundwork as Business Development Coordinator
Rachel Parks gained employment as a Marine Biologist down in Weymouth
Lili Briggs gained employment with Groundwork as a Heritage Project Officer
Steven Lardner gained employment as a Project Manager in London


In April we said goodbye to Sam and Jeanette and welcomed a new team of VPAs at Oldham Evening Chronicle – Natasha, Sam and Stephen

Sam went on to get a teaching job in Japan and Jeanette secured not one but two PT jobs at Barnardos as youth worker and volunteer coordinator!



In a lovely sunny day in May we welcomed a new team of 9 VPAs at Groundwork. The team worked on variety of projects – organising community events, reservoir trails, community action team and employability.


In June we said a farewell to our Oldham Evening Chronicle Volunteers – Sam, Natasha and Stephen. Sam went on to work with the team at the Chronicle and also runs ultimate frisbee sessions every Monday at Mahdlo youth zone.


In July we welcomed a new team of VPAs at the Oldham Evening Chronicle – Steph, Chris and Gary. The team took charge of the social media outlets – improved the all that blog and increased the number of followers the project had on twitter as well as getting a number of articles on young people into the paper.



In August our summer team came to an end and we celebrated with a presentation and a trip to Hollingworth Lake for some fun raft building.



In September we welcomed a smiley new team of 11 volunteers to Groundwork. One of the team was placed at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and in week 10 he was succesful in applying for a job as a Neighbourhood Officer there.


In October our VPAs organised a series of projects on our nature sites




We also went our for a fun and rainy team trip to Brockholes to do a bit of tree ID and of course eat cake 🙂


In November we welcomed a new All That team thanks to National Lottery Awards for All funding which will enable the project to run for another year!

Daniel, Jake and Kim

In November Natalie joined the VPA team as a Princes Trust Assistant Team Leader



More recently we have celebrated reaching a landmark of 2000 VPAs at Groundwork.

It was a fantastic and busy year with 42 volunteers taking part in the programme. We are really looking forward to welcoming new volunteers both at Groundwork and with our partner organisations in February. To apply to join the next scheme please email gemma.russell@groundwork.org.uk or call us on 01616 241 444.


Don’t rain on my parade (but at least there’s cake) – week 4


Monday to Wednesday we have been carrying on with our projects. Here what few of us have been doing:

James – Turned into Mr Postman spending 6 hours stuffing envelopes but he did it singing many a tuneful song . He also learnt about the exciting new plans in Business Services

Karen – Finished drawing the bridge design.

Mac – Monday worked in the office designing posters. Tuesday consulted with a garden group and is going to write a bid so that they can by some equipment and go on trips. Also worked with children in the afternoon doing a steering group (Project our place)

Sarah and Rachel -Planned the finer details for the Spooky spectacular and maintenance events.  Looking forward to hosting the events and have lots of exciting ideas such as nature trail where we will be looking for fairy goblets (AKA Acorns)

Sharaz – Looked up bid ideas.

Liz – Was ill for Part of the week but for the rest week worked on Prezzie and emailing people

Field Trip


The Vistors centre

On a very wet and windy Thursday everyone  visited  Brockholes in Preston. With an amazing nature site, where the whole visitor centre is floating on water. First stop was the cafe with a nice hot drink and a slice of cake, Yummy!  In such a beautiful surrounding, it was a perfect place for a team meeting and to catch up on the weeks progress.  An extra bonus was the animal joke book found by James, so we could open with some delightful jokes such as “How do we know vultures are religious?” “ Because they are birds of prey” Bazinga!


The ancient Woodland

We then went for an exploration around the ancient woodland , we improved our tree Id skills along the way (What leaf can you high five? A sycamore).Half way around we escaped the rain by sheltering in the bird hide, a perfect place for a photo opportunity of the local wildlife and to jump out and scare the living daylights out of our fellow VPA colleges .

We arrived back the visitor centre felling refreshed and full of inspiration for local events, then, it was time for lunch followed by nice browse around the shop, full of interesting nature related goodies.

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Summit  Site

On Friday with limited numbers (get well soon team) we made another visit to Summit Site to do some more clearing.  We cut back the shrubs around the path at the entrance and made a start clearing the car park. We made some excellent progress as the photos show. There is something strangely satisfying about lopping trees and pulling up weeds. We had dinner around a camp fire courtesy of Jo, with some nice hot drinks and delicious vegan blueberry cakes baked by Karen.

Path afterwards

Path before we started work