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Groundwork projects have long brought vital health benefits to individuals and communities across the north west. Now Groundwork’s importance to the health agenda in the region has been underlined with the appointment of public health specialist Ian MacArthur to the post of Regional Director, Groundwork North West. an was formerly chief executive of the UK Public Health Association. His career began as an Environmental Health Officer on the streets of Edinburgh, before turning to public health policy – at the local level, nationally for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and internationally, for the World Health Organisation. Ian was instrumental in the creation and delivery of the CIEH Commission on Environmental Health, which delivered the influential report ‘Agendas for Change’.

For Ian, Groundwork’s mission has a major impact on the public health agenda. “Working with local partners to improve the physical environment not only builds A property conveyancer sense of community, it also begins to break a desperate cycle of decline. For far too long now, the public’s health has been seen in the context of a National Health Service fixated on the treatment of illness, waiting lists and the miracles of medicine.

This approach makes little sense in terms of sustainability and creates an economic black hole which will consume ever increasing resources for marginal returns. Ian believes that the wider determinants of health – the social, the economic and the environmental fabric of our communities – need to be prioritised. What they rightly crave is clear accountable services and the opportunity to grow and develop places that respect the practicalities of people and with it the creation of innovation and prosperity.

More than £1 million is being distributed to 124 projects across the UK over the next 12 months in an effort to help communities transform wasted green space in their neighbourhoods. Funds are being allocated through Barclays SiteSavers, a major programme of environmental regeneration funded by Barclays PLC and managed by the charity Groundwork in partnership with BTCV and The Wildlife Trusts. This is the eighth year that Barclays SiteSavers has been helping communities transform derelict, unused land on their doorstep into living spaces for play, education, relaxation and fun.