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Ideas & Observations

Founding trustees step down after 30 years of outstanding service

Environment and regeneration charity, Groundwork South & North Tyneside, has said farewell to two trustees, who were appointed on its formation exactly 30 years ago.

Solicitor, Derrick Robson and accountant, Mark Charlton, have both been Chair of the Board during their tenure and have played a key role in assisting the charity to grow and positively impact on the lives of many people in both boroughs.

Groundwork South & North Tyneside, chief executive, Andrew Watts, said: “The time, commitment and specialist advice that Derrick and Mark have provided over three decades is incalculable. They have been an immense force for positive change and have enriched the lives not just of the people of the two boroughs but Groundwork staff and their fellow trustees.

“During their time with us, Groundwork has supported thousands of people into work, apprenticeships or training and rejuvenated swathes of urban green spaces. Under our guiding themes of creating sustainable communities, raising aspirations, enriching lives and creating better places, we have delivered a wide range of programmes and services from education enrichment to community programmes such as Green Gym, Marsden Road Health & Wellbeing Centre and GW Shop. We have been able to achieve these successes and outcomes through working with committed partners, who have been instrumental in helping deliver our vision of ‘changing places, changing lives’.

“Steering and guiding us through both the good and challenging times, has been an inspiring set of trustees who have given my staff and myself the confidence to embark on some very ambitious projects. A constant throughout that period have been Derrick and Mark and on behalf of everyone connected with Groundwork, I would like to thank them most sincerely for all they have done for our charity. They can be immensely proud of the contribution they have made.

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

“I will really miss the organisation 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 the journey, as our work has never been more needed than now due to the pandemic and the impact of climate change.’’

Mark Charlton, 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 and changing lives. We have been involved in so many projects and while it’s easy to see the physical projects that we have implemented, 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.”


Picture caption: (front) Derrick Robson and Mark Charlton with fellow trustees (left to right) Daniel O’Mahoney, Mike Cuthbertson, Diana Pearce, Jeff Owen, Andrew Thurston.