Urban Green

Urban Green Newcastle – the charity that manages Newcastle’s parks and allotments – has formed a new partnership with social enterprise, The Skill Mill, to provide work experience and training opportunities to young people aged 16-18, and support them into employment.

The two-year programme, which begins in August 2020, will see 66 young adults benefit from four weeks of dedicated training in water and land-based management. As well as providing valuable on-the-job training for the participating trainees, the scheme will also benefit the ongoing management and maintenance on Newcastle’s 33 parks and 61 allotment sites.

Urban Green Newcastle’s partnership with The Skill Mill has created three full-time contract posts at the charity. Richie Oliver leads the new team as Trainer/Supervisor, with support from two Assistant Supervisors, Anthony and Bradley, who are former Skill Mill trainees.

James Cross, CEO of Urban Green Newcastle, said: “All young people, no matter what their background, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“The Skill Mill is a unique, award-winning social enterprise that works with ex-young offenders to help them gain valuable work experience and qualifications in watercourse and horticulture services.

“Working with Urban Green Newcastle, the trainees will work across Newcastle’s parks and allotment sites to develop a range of new skills and help improve our wonderful green spaces, which have all seen unprecedented use during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re delighted to be supporting young people in our region to gain the qualifications and the confidence they need to secure long-term employment.”

David Parks, Managing Director of The Skill Mill, said: “The Skill Mill partnership with Urban Green Newcastle represents a bringing together of shared values and ideals to improve the life chances of young people through co-creating quality employment and training opportunities.

“This is combined with the maintenance of the public realm, and in particular the management of green spaces and increased contact with nature, which has become even more critical to the health and wellbeing of the communities in Newcastle. It is a significant development for the city and we look forward to developing it further.”

The first trainees will join the new programme in August 2020.

In addition to its partnership with The Skill Mill, Urban Green Newcastle is also introducing more ways for members of the public to play an active role in looking after Newcastle’s green spaces.

In the coming months, the charity will begin recruiting hundreds of new volunteers to work alongside existing volunteers across all its parks. In addition, a brand new volunteer ‘Urban Green Clean’ team will be established to help tackle the ongoing problem of littering, which has increased during the coronavirus pandemic as more people visit the city’s parks.

A new community representation group - Urban Green Connect – will also be established to ensure the views of local people are heard and allow local communities to voice their opinions on decisions about the future of Newcastle’s parks and allotments.

For more information, visit www.urbangreennewcastle.org.

Shaun Tate
Article by Shaun Tate
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