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NORTHERN NETWORK: Our project begins

The Northern Network is a new initiative from Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire, and Merseyside (CLM) that seeks to support the development of Green Community Hubs across the North of England.

The project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and builds on Groundwork CLM’s expertise in this area, especially with its three hugely successful Green Hubs: Grow Speke; Grozone; and @The Grange.

It also takes inspiration from recent Groundwork reports including Growing Spaces: Community Hubs and their role in Recovery, and Out of Bounds: Equity in Access to urban nature. The reports both evidence the huge value of shared green spaces for building healthy and resilient communities.

Groundwork’s mission with this project is to use its extensive experience, connections, and research to build a thriving community of Green Hubs right across the North of England. This community will be networked together, on and offline, providing each other with peer support, swapping ideas and resources, and building their shared capacity in order to ultimately inspire a new movement of greener communities, for the benefit of all.

Groundwork CLM is working with four other Groundwork Trusts to help it achieve this, and each Trust has a project facilitator supporting a pilot Green Hub in their local area. We’re also working with Wavehill, to evaluate and report on the project, which will run until March 2024.

Our whole team came together online for the first time in October at a kick-off meeting to begin scoping out what we thought this new Network could look like, how we could evaluate our work effectively, and what support we could offer our 5 new pilot hubs.

We took time to explore questions around what we understood a Green Hub to be and we discussed the importance of co-creation in partnership with the communities that Hubs serve. We also explored the potential of the network and discussed how it could benefit hubs, in particular, the opportunities it could bring to learn from each other and share skills and best practices.

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