John becomes Chair of Trustees

Our board of Trustees have appointed John Bland, Treasurer and Deputy Clerk at Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA), as our new Chair of Trustees.

John has been a member of the Groundwork board of Trustees since February 2011. He replaces Richard Tang, Managing Director of Rochdale internet firm Zen Internet, who has stepped down after 6 years as Chairman of the Trust.

John commented: “I am honoured and delighted to be asked to take on the role of Chair of the Board. Richard has done such a fantastic job and will be a very hard act to follow.

“For me this is a challenging time to be taking over with austerity measures starting to bite and many imaginative changes taking place in the way that public money is being spent. We have an excellent track record of delivery, and all who work with us in partnership rate us highly. At its simplest, success means that we need to continue to deliver what we say we will, and grasp new opportunities. The Board and Management Team’s work on new vision, values and purpose is therefore central to getting us into a position to be able to succeed.

“One of my key priorities will therefore be to make sure that, as a Board, we are able to set challenging but deliverable strategic direction, and more importantly make sure that we maximise the considerable expertise of those Members of the Board to open doors and make sure we seize those opportunities. I am passionate about our ability to be able to succeed, and change people’s lives in the local area.”

My thanks to Richard for his time, commitment and support over the years to the Trust. Richard joined the Board at the time when the Trust was facing some significant challenges. With his leadership and direction, the Trust has become stronger and more focused on meeting customer needs.

Also retiring from the Groundwork board is long-standing Trustee Steve Lowe. Steve has been on our board since April 1998 and has played an important role in ensuring our survival and growth over the past 16 years. At the end of our most recent board meeting earlier this month we held a mini celebration event to thank both Steve and Richard for their contributions as Trustees.


I would also like to pay thanks to all of our Trustees for the work they do on behalf of Groundwork. Earlier this month was Trustees’ Week – an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference. We currently have 15 Trustees who volunteer their time and expertise to help in the running of Groundwork in Bolton, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale. On behalf of all the staff, volunteers and people who benefit from Groundwork, many thanks for all that you give to this organisation.

Vicki Devonport, Executive Director



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