Today is World Environment Day and this year’s theme is #BeatAirPollution
Today offers us a chance to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution. In addition to harming human health, air pollution harms our natural environment including decreasing the oxygen supply in our oceans and contributing to climate change. Air pollution impacts all of us and we all have a role to play to keep our air clean.
VINCI Facilities are continually working to reduce our emissions including the installation of LED solar lighting units in Astral House car park, investing in electric vehicles and tracking technology for our fleet, and since April 2018 all our direct offices have been supplied with 100% certified renewable electricity.
There are many ways you can reduce your emissions which include:
To find out more information about or energy management systems, please click here
This week hosted World FM Day, a global opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the FM profession. Every single member of VINCI Facilities is responsible for creating and maintaining great places to live and work for our customers and end-users.
With this year’s theme celebrating global standards, it is a chance for us to recognise the important standards and benchmarks we have in place to enable the heroes ‘behind the scenes’ to manage, operate and adapt the built environment.
For the past 10 years, our teams have been working hard to ensure our operations run smoothly and the people using the facilities we manage and operate – customers, suppliers, and our own teams – are in an environment which is safe, secure and fit-for-purpose.
An important and vital standard we operate to is The Sustainable FM Index, the recognised benchmark for sustainability in the FM industry. Last year we achieved the Platinum Award. Being sustainable and responsible is ingrained in the way we think and the way we operate at every level of our business. It focuses our teams on delivering real customer value as well as challenging everyone to eliminate waste across all of our touch points. Read our Sustainable Business Report here.
As a business, we would not achieve these global standards without our people. Utilising our Academy, we bring all learning and career development in-house to invest in the skills and progression of our teams; enabling and empowering our people to maximise their potential. Our investment and dedication has led to our re-accreditation in the Investors in People award and our Diversity in People award plus numerous other critical UK and international standards that underpin our business.
“These industry standards drive our excellent performance which enables us to continuously delight our customers” – Paul Goodridge, Divisional Director, VINCI Facilities
We are proud to announce that VINCI Construction UK have been successful in achieving re-accreditation of the Leaders in Diversity standard. Thank you to all our employees, supply chain and clients that took part in the LID survey and 1:1 interviews, providing feedback to the National Centre for Diversity.
Our Assessor's report is very positive and reflects the fact that our culture has moved positively in the period since the previous accreditation.
Advisor's quote from report:
"VINCI’s commitment to FIR has always been outstanding and the organisation was an early adopter of the standard in 2011. The range of initiatives have continued to develop and a culture shift is slowly happening. There are some existing strategies underway, particularly around recruitment diversity and the supply chain diversity."
The VINCI Facilities team at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital (STHK), together with New Hospitals and Medirest, have proudly been awarded the prestigious Health Services Journal (HSJ) award for Property and Estates Service Provider of the Year.
A team comprising of members from all partners attended the award ceremony to accept the award.
This award follows on from STHK hospitals being ranked the best acute NHS Trust in England in the Patient Led Assessment of Care Environment (PLACE) programme for the second year running. They achieved top marks for the condition of the buildings and the facilities for patients, as well as other categories including cleanliness and privacy.
Furthermore, in a recent NHS survey STHK hospitals were named the top acute Trust in the entire country for staff engagement, staff motivation and pride in the quality of care provided to patients for the third year running.
To be classified as the best in the NHS by the HSJ backs up similar statements by the CQC Inspection Team and confirms our belief that the Facilities at St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals are amongst the best in the whole of the NHS.
VINCI Facilities are dedicated to supporting sustainable business practice through water management.
We work with our customers to understand their needs and develop a tailored service that meets water management requirements delivering direct and measurable business benefits. These services include embedding an Energy and Water Manager within our contracts and providing bureau services to monitor, analyse and report on water consumption.
These services have been rolled out to clients in the retail, corporate, education and government sector.
To find out more information on how we can help you manage and save water, please click here
The Reading from the Start (RftS) programme, in partnership with our client Peabody, has been vital in supporting families and their children; it encourages parents with children under five years old to make reading part of their everyday lives.
Through the programme, VINCI Facilities sponsor the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to donate one book every month until the child’s fifth birthday. They also receive two hours of reading time and activities per month with teachers and trained volunteers.
RftS is now in its’s fifth year and the programme has continued to go from strength to strength. Over 614 children have registered onto the programme and as a result we have delivered over 11,000 books to homes across Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Thamesmead and Chingford since the start of the programme.
We have received amazing results from a recent evaluation:
We will continue to support the Reading from the Start programme to ensure the love of reading is fostered from a young age which not only currently impacts the families involved, but has proven to positively impact longer term educational outcomes for the children. By 2023, we aim to see the programme reach 2,000 children across the Peabody Estate.
Social Value is here to stay; and strong words need to be backed up by actions. But how can we record the social value in our activities?
VINCI Facilities became the first Facilities Management and Building Solutions company to join Social Value UK, the national network for all those interested in raising the profile of social value and social impact. We have designed a Social Value Framework to encourage our teams to collect data that provides support for creating as much social value possible within our contracts.
Find out more here: How do we know where the social value is in our activities?
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South have been shortlisted for two awards in this year’s National tpas Awards.
The awards are designed to celebrate the success stories of tenants, landlords and contractors working together to create better engagement for communities across England.
This year we have been shortlisted for the Outstanding Tenant Engagement – Contractor award for our work with Peabody Quality Homes and Josephine O'Connor, our Head of Business and Community Investment, has been shortlisted for the Contractor Customer Service Champion award.
We look forward to hearing the final results on the 29th March.
The VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South team working on the Royal Mail Group framework have once again partnered with their client to collaborate on another social value initiative.
Whilst undertaking a project at the Medway Mail Centre, the team engaged with the local charity champion at the Royal Mail to discuss the opportunity to deliver a Stand Out! Make a Difference initiative in aid of Action for Children. The charity supports disadvantaged children from across the UK from birth through to their twenties, they act on behalf of 301,000 children, young people, parents and carers across the UK.
Action for Children run an early years’ children’s activity centre where the external play areas needed restoration. The tasks included a thorough clean, removal of shrubs and weeds, repairs to doors, gates and fencing, repainting the fences, the creation of a sensory garden and adding toad stool seating areas in the play kitchen.
Frances Farren, Director of Property Programmes and Projects for the Royal Mail Property and Facilities Solutions commented that:
“This is a fantastic example of our framework relationship working together for the benefit of the wider community and for such a great cause supporting young people’s mental health.”
VINCI Facilities and Royal Mail staff were joined by our Supply Chain Partners to deliver the makeover; staff and guardians from the site also supported the teams. This initiative provided an opportunity to encourage team building across the project and restore the children’s play area back to a safe and desirable space.
Across our VINCI Facilities contracts we are celebrating Thank Your Cleaner Day, designed to recognise the hard work of our cleaning teams and to make sure they know they are valued and appreciated within the business and on our contracts.
Every day our skilled, hard-working cleaning teams are onsite ensuring our premises are clean and ready to go for the next business day. They work day, night and weekends to keep working and living environments clean, safe and hygienic; this is often outside normal office hours.
VINCI Clean is a member of the Responsible Cleaner Scheme which protects and promotes the welfare and development of employees in the cleaning industry. We make sure their experience and capabilities are recognised and developed.
Today is an opportunity for both our clients and our employees to get to know our cleaning teams and to let them know their work is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.
VINCI Facilities is pleased to announce our VINCI Clean team has successfully won another award at the BICSc Annual Awards and are finalists in another category.
Winner: Cleaning Excellence in the delivery and practice of Health and Safety through BICSc Training
We operate with safety at our core; all our employees receive a comprehensive induction and ongoing training programmes. VINCI Clean provide in-house inductions, where all employees receive a personal copy of our Health and Safety Handbook, containing COSHH and RAMS which incorporate BICSc methodology. In addition, Manual Handling training is given to all employees by the trained VINCI Clean team.
All sites are regularly audited by our Senior Management team. During these inspections correct safe working methodology is audited, as well as hygiene, to ensure adherence to the company safety practices and procedures. Best practice is also identified and included in our excellence report.
We host monthly toolbox talks on the latest safety findings to refresh our teams’ knowledge of our policies and procedures. We celebrate safety with our annual ‘Take a Break for Safety’ day where the teams take time out of the working week to talk about safety and debate various safety topics relevant to their work.
Finalist: Assessor of the Year - Marie Allen
To ensure we are compliant on our Welsh Government contract, we guarantee all cleaning activity is done to an extremely high standard, whilst being completed with the highest regards for HS&E standards, both for individuals completing the tasks and the stakeholders. To achieve this, our staff complete mandatory training which includes manual handling and BICS MU units.
We employ a diverse cleaning team with varying levels of confidence, communication skills and education. Experience has taught us that many cleaners find the prospect of training daunting and where possible avoid participation. Marie Allen immediately knows how to coach each individual in order to help them succeed; she treats each team member differently and introduces them to the training in a way that makes them feel comfortable and able to cope with it.
We constantly see our staff embracing their ability to succeed and achieve, resulting in a boost in confidence and understanding how to work correctly to gain the expected results. The high success rate on the contract is due to the care, understanding and pleasant nature Marie has when working with the cleaning teams.
VINCI Clean are also finalists in the Diversity in Cleaning Award for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in the cleaning category in the European Cleaning Awards.
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South Special Projects team collaborated with clients on our Royal Mail contract to give a much-needed and deserved refresh to the War Memorial and Gardens at the Edinburgh Mail Centre project site. This was done as part of the Stand Out! Make A Difference scheme.
The garden is regularly used as a centre piece for the mail centre and required an uplift to restore it to its original state. The refresh consisted of jet washing all paving and stone walling, stones repairs, decorations and repairs to the benches, removing weeds, re-bedding raised plant areas and planting various flowers and shrubs. The memorial plaque was also refurbished.
The event was timed to coincide with the centenary year of the 1918 armistice of The Great War. Employees from the Edinburgh Royal Mail Centre served in the war; 224 employees sadly lost their lives in WW1 and a further 43 people in WW2. In honour of their sacrifice the team laid a wreath on behalf of VINCI to mark the occasion.
This was a true team effort and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved; it was only possible due to the kind donation of people’s time as well as materials and equipment via the VINCI Supply Chain partners.
VINCI Facilities are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for the BIFM Newcomer of the Year and Team of the Year awards, in addition to the PFM Partners in Cleaning (public sector) and Partners in Retail awards.
BIFM Team of the Year – London Stadium
Marking VINCI Facilities’ entry into the event-management sector within the UK, the FM team at the London Stadium deliver sector-leading maintenance and event management solutions. The contract has seen the team traverse a steep learning curve, continuously innovating and going beyond the call of duty to provide a world-class experience for every visitor. VINCI Facilities manage the maintenance of the world class 35,000m2 stadium, providing full asset management across 27 complex systems.
BIFM Newcomer of the Year – Paul McNally
Paul McNally established himself as a pioneering leader within VINCI Facilities. He’s an avid ambassador for the FM sector, working tirelessly to develop talent, share best practice and promote FM as a powerful strategic business function. After a 14-year career in the services industry, Paul has been an active member of the FM world and is currently the Facilities Manager on our St Helens Hospital and Whiston Hospital contract.
PFM Partners in Cleaning (Public Sector) – London Stadium
Key to the success of the London Stadium contract is our unique approach to cleaning the facility; in a bold move, we moved away from the traditional sub-contractor model. Our unique approach saw the development of a rigorous cleaning framework ensuring the efficient roll out of an in-house offering. Major focus was placed on training, with the entire cleaning team receiving BICS accredited Level 3 training, along with significant investment in the latest innovative and green technologies to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impact
PFM Partners in Retail – Debenhams
When Debenhams decided to outsource hard FM activities for the first time in its 240-year history; the retailing giant chose VINCI Facilities as its partner. Central to this partnership’s ongoing united approach is the shared vision between both parties to deliver an end-to-end maintenance strategy. We have introduced numerous initiatives that are transforming Debenhams’ operations, including a detailed asset verification and dilapidation survey providing an accurate overview of the volume and condition of its 24,500 key assets for the very first time.
We look forward to finding out the results of the awards later on this year.
The NHS Sustainability Day is a national day of action across the health sector; over the last five years VINCI Facilities have organised NHS Sustainability Days to engage the local community, patients and staff. This year was no exception, at St Helens and Whiston hospitals we once again partnered with the Local Authority’s Healthy Living Team to promote exercise, healthy eating, recycling and energy efficiency.
We stationed two smoothie bikes in the main entrance atrium of Whiston Hospital, where eager participants pedalled the bikes to power a blender, making their own healthy fruit smoothie served in a biodegradable corn starch cup. This was a powerful way to promote healthy eating and exercise, whilst also demonstrating energy efficient behaviours.
We also distributed our sustainability newsletter and encouraged visitors to take part in our sustainability quiz.
In the wider community, we partnered with local schools to educate and encourage the children to recycle. Currently each month St Helens and Whiston Hospitals recycle hundreds of AA batteries that are still 50-70% charged; we provided some of these batteries to the schools for them to re-use and set up collection points for the free battery recycling service.
VINCI Facilities strives to create value for our customers by integrating social, environment and economic aspects of sustainability into the core of our business.
Arc in the Park, a major community initiative in Newham, London, is the latest example of VINCI Facilities’ leadership on social value in the facilities and social housing sector.
The project provided Barking and Dagenham College students with practical work-experience whilst refurbishing the Arc in the Park – an important community hub in desperate need of repairs. The students worked side-by-side with experienced employees of VINCI Facilities and their supply chain, many of whom were locals who had lived in the area their whole lives.
This really interesting movie was produced by a student media team from the College. It captures the events as they unfold and shows the value this project created to the local community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEzfPF-PAnA
“The feedback we have had has been remarkable. It shows how we can do much more than just delivering our contracted services, through creating social value that cuts right into the heart of the community”, said Josephine O’Connor, business & community investment manager, VINCI Facilities.
Because delivering building and facilities management solutions is not only about enhancing our client’s facilities. Working with the public sector and social housing in particular, automatically nurtures an emphasis on service that truly benefit people’s homes, schools and hospitals. It is about making a difference to whole communities and the lives of the people in these. VINCI Facilities is committed to deliver social value, and their leadership within the FM industry has been recognised with awards and certifications, but is also highlighted through their choice, as the first FM provider, to join Social Value UK.
Social value does not only benefit a few recipients and communities, it creates win-wins where innovative approaches to social value helps delight clients and boost team moral, which doubtlessly contributes to business sustainability and success. As Tony Raikes, managing director, VINCI Facilities explains: “We deliver projects like Arc in the Park, because it makes sense. It benefits our people, our business and our client’s businesses. But most importantly it helps us to make a true difference to people’s lives in the communities where we operate”.
VINCI Facilities is driving the social value agenda and reaching out to its suppliers and anyone seeking advice via themed workshops with the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS).
In July over 100 suppliers and contractors attended a social value themed day hosted by VINCI Facilities and the SCSS with the sole objective of breaking down barriers and demystifying everything around social value and sustainability.
Since the Social Value Act in 2012 all public bodies in England and Wales are required to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area. But, despite publicity and the best efforts of FM providers such as VINCI, many organisations remain nervous about what social value means and how best to deliver it as part of support services provided in the public sector.
Delegates heard examples of VINCI’s work with its clients and partners to not just meet its contractual obligations, but go further and deliver real value and benefits to local communities affected by its work.
Veronica Kirwan, director of community programmes for Peabody explained how the joint VINCI and Peabody literacy programme ‘Reading from the Start’ has made a significant difference to the tenants living in and around the Peabody housing estates. VINCI’s business and community investment manager, Josephine O’Connor and supplier Michael Demitriou Director from Piggott & Whitfield de-mystified social value for many of the attendees via some practical examples on how you can get involved.
Of the 100 or so attendees 69% said that they now “fully understood” social value is, compared to 26% at the beginning of the presentation.
VINCI Facilities’ commercial director Rory Murphy said:
“Social value and sustainability is more than a narrow focus on preserving the environment and reducing carbon. It goes deeper. It is about organisations like ours being environmentally sound, socially aware and economically clever. We deliver long lasting value to local people – via literacy programmes, refurbishing community centres and providing opportunities for young people. Everyone in FM has a role to play and we’re proud to be one of the leaders in this area.”
VINCI Facilities is one of many partners and supporters of the SCSS along with BIFM. In September VINCI is again pushing the social value agenda with a second themed day – this time a workshop looking at how to get grips with social value which will also be run with the SCSS on 12 September. For more details, use the link here.
VINCI Facilities is the first FM provider to sign up to Social Value UK. This confirms the commitment that VINCI has demonstrated to social value since before the Social Value Act in 2012 and underlines its total support for working with the communities affected by its day-to-day operations.
VINCI Facilities has joined Social Value UK in order to facilitate a robust and industry-leading approach to managing and improving the social value they create for society, staff and customers.
Rory Murphy, Commercial Director for VINCI Facilities, says “social value return has been at the heart of our operations for many years. Membership of Social Value UK allows us to shape its future and raise the benchmark across industry creating more lasting legacies within the communities we work.”
As a provider of facilities management and building maintenance to both public and private sector clients, VINCI Facilities deliver a range of projects which are targeted at delivering social value.
Initiatives range from apprenticeships and employee volunteer days to programmes spanning years such as Reading from the Start, which is a joint programme to tackle the issue of illiteracy and poor educational support in three London boroughs. The most recent social value project was delivered in Newham, London in March, where a VINCI Facilities led collaboration provided college students with work-experience and training whilst improving the facilities of an important hub in the local community (‘Arc in the Park’).
Social Value UK: “We are pleased to welcome a new member from the facilities management and construction industries. The arrival of the Public Services (Social Value) Act in 2012 created a big opportunity for social value to be generated from companies providing large public sector contracts. It is encouraging to see some of the main players in these industries engaging with this crucial agenda.”
VINCI Facilities gained another three years’ accreditation with TPAS in March proving its commitment to social housing and working alongside the communities served by VINCI’s clients.
TPAS is an independent body dedicated to improving tenant engagement standards across social housing in England and Wales.
The accreditation is a clear indication a contractor is not just excellent at delivering services to its client, but is committed to community support and the wider goals around social housing.
The TPAS Accreditation Assessment Panel unanimously confirmed the award to VINCI Facilities for a further three years, acknowledging that VINCI’s team are at a very high standard.
VINCI’s work across England and Wales in social housing, and notably with Peabody in London and Sandwell BC in the West Midlands, consistently demonstrates its teams are responsive to the needs of tenants and potential residents. It seeks to engage with local people – supporting initiatives like Reading from the Start with Peabody and working alongside local schools and colleges in Sandwell and Barking and Dagenham
Operations director for VINCI Facilities, Garry McInerney, said:
"VINCI Facilities prides itself on providing services that are all about the end user experience and this is another great accolade for our operational teams who deliver first class services daily. In all our housing operations the residents are at the heart of everything we do. We work tirelessly to ensure we meet the framework recommendations and go the extra mile for our tenants. Achieving reaccreditation status for the third time is extremely rewarding and testament to our teams and their commitment.”
Kate Newbold, consultancy manager, TPAS said:
“The scale of improvement from the previous submission in 2013 indicates that VINCI takes the TPAS accreditation and recommendations very seriously.”
The NHS Sustainability Day is a national day of action across the health sector; the VINCI Facilities teams on our healthcare contracts take part to support and promote this day of action. Ahead of this year’s Sustainability Day we are looking back at some of our previous contributions to the day.
Last year at Whiston Hospital we collaborated with the local council and Mersey Travel and Transport to give away free bus passes, promoting sustainable transport and endorsing both the environmental and health factors. In addition, we hosted a stand in the hospital cafeteria to hand out recycled notepads and pens, bottles of life water, wildlife seeds and fresh fruit to those who answered our sustainability quiz.
Over the last four years VINCI Facilities have organised NHS Sustainability Days for the local community and this year is no exception. We have once again partnered with the Local Authority’s Healthy Living Team to share information on energy reduction, recycling and healthy eating.
Every two years, the Golden Service Awards celebrates excellence in cleaning; this year VINCI Facilities walked away with the award for the Best Cleaned Premise, office areas below 250,000 square feet, with the Welsh Government building in Aberystwyth.
Aberystwyth is an accommodation building providing 6600m2 of modern, energy efficient, open plan office and meeting space. It houses various internal departments, external bodies and houses 353 people excluding visitors.
Our cleaning delivery is structured to suit the building, with intrusive work being carried out in the evening due to the open plan structure, whilst the recycling and housekeeping tasks are carried out during the daytime.
Our delivery model has been designed to meet the building’s Green credentials and compliment the BREEAM excellent rating, building on sustainability and maintaining a consistency in an isolated location.
We have introduced several initiatives based on our LEAN study of the site operation, including investing in cyclonic battery vacuums which minimised downtime and are more ergonomic to the user. Secondly, the site uses ozonated water as its core cleaning agent which minimizes the risk to employees and building users.
VINCI Clean were also shortlisted for the Best Cleaned Premises, Large Education Establishment award with The Chappell Centre, Lincolnshire County Council.
VINCI Facilities is determined to maximise the potential to deliver meaningful social value to our projects and challenge traditional client/contractor relationships to deliver a partnership approach. We have several social value initiatives that benefit our end-users, particularly within education.
Firstly, under our 10-year contract with Peabody, we have partnered with the philanthropic Landlord to deliver the Reading from the Start programme. This initiative is an early literacy intervention programme designed to stop illiteracy in its tracks. Reading from the Start fosters a love of reading for children aged 0-5 growing up in some of London’s poorest boroughs, positively impacting their long term educational outcomes.
The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library donates books to the children, who receive an age-appropriate book every month until their fifth birthday. They also receive two hours of reading activities per month with teachers and trained volunteers.
After the first three years of the programme, we changed the lives of over 500 children, with in excess of 7700 books read. We will continue to collaborate with Peabody and the Reading from the Start programme as we are determined to benefit the residents across the Peabody estates where we refurbish social housing. By 2023, we aim to see the programme reach 2,000 children across the Peabody Estate.
Furthermore, we provided a 3D printer to Silverdale secondary school in Sheffield which they used to create a model Formula One car that they entered into a competition. We also supplied lithium-ion batteries for a robot that was entered into the BBC Robot Wars competition by Bradfield secondary school.
Social Value feeds into almost every aspect of our operations and our community engagement; it is our way of creating great places to live and work, delivered by people who care.
This week saw the Annual Workplace Future Conference which centred on the ‘Added Value’ that Facilities Management can create.
The programme included a number of speakers from across the sector who all addressed the value discussion from various angles including the value of our people, the values of an organisation and also some of the more typical presentations around the business value and benefit that can be derived from excellent FM delivery.
The day was punctuated with ongoing discussions around the recent failure of Carillion and the impact or otherwise upon the reputation and public perception of outsourcing and Facilities Management in general. The one sad irony of the event was that within the lecture hall attendees were happily debating the ‘value’ that FM can add whilst on the big screens in the break out areas there was a live feed from the Work and Pensions Committees who were grilling the top executives from Carillion on their business practices.
Rory Murphy presented on the Social Value that can be driven from Facilities Management and centred his presentation on the recent RICS Social Value case studies that were published in November. The ability for Facilities Management companies and businesses like ours to drive Social value is significant. The wide range of employment and development opportunities that are available across all the services we deliver is the real value add within our sector and this is supplemented by some fantastic bespoke schemes such as ‘Reading from the Start’ and strategic alliances with charities such as the Princes Trust and the DofE.
The case studies outlined in the RICS research included initiatives looking at access to work for ex-service people, strategies for working with an age diverse workforce, developing your own talent pools and from a community perspective the efforts going in on some projects to work more closely with SME’s. The case studies also included our own award winning ‘Reading from the start’ initiative as well as the work we have done with Barking and Dagenham college.
“Workplace Futures is an unashamedly FM focussed event and my sense at the end of the day was of a profession/sector that has been shaken by the recent failure of a major services provider and the spotlight that has subsequently been shone upon the delivery of critical public services. The challenge we face in the immediate period is to demonstrate the excellent value we deliver across our contracts and how a sustainable approach to business which focusses on listening to you key stakeholders and balancing the Economic, Social and Environmental aspects of all we do will keep us successful.” – Rory Murphy
To pursuit one of her dreams and to develop professionally, our Senior Sustainability Advisor Charlotte Österman, was given a sabbatical leave to go volunteering in rural Nicaragua. This enabled her to develop new skills whilst co-leading a development project in Latin America.
Nine months ago, Raleigh International offered Charlotte a position to lead a young team of volunteers to deliver a sustainable development programme in Nicaragua. Nervously, she approached VINCI to see if a three-month break from her role would be possible. They said yes.
Four months later, Charlotte was in the mountains, in a coffee and strawberry growing region of Madriz; co-team leading a multicultural Raleigh ECHO 2 team and delivering the ‘Livelihoods’ programme. The programme set out to create sustainable businesses through the empowerment and training of young entrepreneurs. On a day to day basis she got to use skills and knowledge developed throughout her sustainability career with VINCI and before, in combination with a fair bit of innovation to make this applicable to the rural and poverty-stricken setting.
Quick problem-solving, dynamic risk assessments and big portions of motivation from the team was required when everything from rainstorms and illnesses tried to slow us down. But without hesitation, the team delivered all the training planned, to provide the entrepreneurs with knowledge crucial to enable them to set up their businesses and provide them with a sustainable source of income.
The team held fourteen training sessions for the communities, El Pegador and Nueva Esperanza, they carried out regular 1-2-1s with 24 entrepreneurs, delivered six Actions Days (e.g. the 31 Oct community party where we introduced the concepts of Halloween), took the entrepreneurs on a fieldtrip to learn about beekeeping, organised a community fair, etc., etc. As a leader and a team member Charlotte is proud to acknowledge that they delivered or exceeded on all the targets set and that they could already start seeing the difference they were making with the entrepreneurs.
By the end of the cycle, they organised a mock presentation for the entrepreneurs to get feedback on their business ideas. It was a great day and they had a strong turnout of twelve, despite being in harvest season. A few were nervous; this was something totally new to them, but they still presented and did an excellent job in explaining what kind of business they wanted to create and what their business plan looked like. It was great practice for the final presentation that they will have in April and at the end of the second cycle. This is when the entrepreneurs will pitch for financial aid; the aid that will further support them to make their business dreams reality.
“For me personally this has been an invaluable experience. I have not only learnt how to live in a setting and context massively different to ours’, I adapted to it and gained a new family.
I got to experience the inevitable challenges of managing a young team of volunteers, whom all came with different backgrounds, expectations and motivations. But I also got to celebrate the success of hard work with them.
I’ve learnt that leadership is not about being at the front and making the quickest decisions. It is about doing the groundwork in the background to enable the team to collaborate and find the solution and the plan, and then help them to execute it. Because they are truly the most important determinants of your impact, and the creators of the success.
I’ll stay in touch with the communities and Raleigh to hear what fruits the seeds we planted yield. And as time passes, the difference and long-term impact that we achieve in El Pegador and Nueva Esperanza will be more clear. Just like I, with time, will more clearly see what difference this experience has done not only to my professional skillset, but life.”
VINCI Facilities Energy and Water Management team recently launched our services directly to the market via the EMEX exhibition at London ExCeL. This was our must-do event to introduce our expertise to the wider market; it certainly paid off as we were highly visible throughout the two-day event.
Together with our supply chain partner Offgrid, we sponsored the Main Theatre; powering it with battery technology. It created quite a lot of excitement as we unveiled the first battery powered seminar theatre. Our exhibition stand was also powered by battery technology.
We delivered a series of thought-led seminars and were also shortlisted for two awards;
EMEX is one of the largest forums for Energy and Water management experts, buyers and suppliers to network, share knowledge and demonstrat
If you want to know more about what we do and how we could help your clients, please get in touch with Paul Lynch, Head of Energy & Water Management at email@example.com
In November, a team of 39 cyclists, including Phil Russell, VINCI Facilities Sales and Marketing Director, rode 500km from Vietnam to Cambodia in 6 days to raise money for The Urology Foundation.
The Urology Foundation is a charity that funds research to develop better diagnoses and treatments for all urological conditions for men and women – including cancer and diseases of the prostate, kidney and bladder.
A total of 39 volunteers took part in the cycle, including Phil’s partner Niki and three tour guides; plus, a small group of local ‘outriders’ on mopeds and driving water trucks. It made for an interesting and sometimes quite spectacular sight, as they rode either strung out over a couple of miles or riding in Peloton formation.
The route, starting at Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam and finishing at Siem Reap in north-western Cambodia, was the riders’ home for a total of 9 days. During the cycle, they experienced breath taking scenery, ancient temples, the warmth of the local people and an appreciation of the devastation of both the Vietnam War in the 60’s and the genocide by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia of over 2 million of its own people in the 70’s.
The group of volunteers were of mixed ability group; some had trained hard for this event only to be reigned back to keep the group together and to all benefit from well organised water and lunch stops. Others quietly ‘pushed-on’ without any fuss, completing each section at an acceptable speed, safely.
Due to searing afternoon temperatures and intense humidity each day had to have an early start. At the same time, cycling at night was not an option as there were no street lights or bike lights. It was Niki who had the first accident, clashing head-on with a moped travelling on the same side of the road but in opposite directions. No serious damage was caused but it was a lesson in wearing a good helmet and understanding local riding habits. Others fell with one person concussed but otherwise they all arrived safely.
The highlights? The Mekong Delta is one. Its vast. Home to thousands in both Vietnam and Cambodia, strung out along its riverbank, there is a dense collection of fragile looking wooden houses on stilts; it’s not for swimming as it serves as the main sewage system. The rice (paddi) fields was another, boarded by palm trees with hidden settlements and a network of tiny paths that link everything together. Siem Reap is a World Heritage Site and for good reason, the temples are spectacular.
“The endearing memory is the people, especially in Vietnam who waved and shouted from their homes, schools, vans, scooters and who genuinely seemed pleased that we had chosen their country to host our adventure.” – Phil Russell
VINCI Facilities Customer Response Centre has been awarded the ServiceMark accreditation; we scored 88.8% against the 78.2% industry benchmark.
The Customer Response Centre first joined the Institute of Customer Service as a member in 2016. We decided to apply for one of the Institute's flagship accreditations ServiceMark; a national standard awarding an organisation's achievement in customer service and the devotion to keeping these standards.
The process involved three key elements; an employee survey, a survey of customers, and an assessment by an independent assessor from The Institute of Customer Service. We achieved over the benchmark score on both our employee and customer surveys.
The independent assessor held a total of 23 interviews with employees. The evidence was gathered by the analysis of written documentation, our website, company intranet, several individual and group interviews; informal chats, observations and a tour of our office.
Sally Duff – ICS Independent assessor quoted: "The Customer Response Centre seems to have its own clear identity, a strong degree of autonomy in how it runs and the strong ethos of team work, alongside close-knit working and employee inclusion. As a result, it would seem that engaged employees are able to play a bigger part in the development of new processes and in taking responsibility for change and improvements. The involvement of such employees in projects seems to enrich their roles as well as give them an opportunity to develop new skills and experience."
Obtaining the accreditation is a massive differentiator for us and an important part of our marketing and winning work strategy. The National Customer Service Standard Accreditation has been awarded to us for a period of 3 years.
VINCI Facilities have been listed as a BFIM finalist in the ‘Impact on Employee Experience’ award category for our work with Lincolnshire County Council. Our entry showcases how three partner organisations (Lincolnshire County Council, VINCI Facilities and Mouchel) united their workforces to create a first-class employee culture which puts collaboration and communication at its core.
Staff satisfaction on the contract significantly improved across all metric areas and our energised and empowered workforce have gone on to transform the standards of the county’s property management operations. The project team have achieved savings of over £1m to date, whilst also exceeding on all other key performance indicators.
Together this highly engaged and productive unit has successfully realised the Council’s visions and objectives, delivering an unprecedented level of service for Lincolnshire’s 715,000 residents.
We will find out the results on the 9th October.
VINCI Facilities is a proud partner of The Supply Chain Sustainability School – a free training resource and learning vehicle for sustainability.
We regularly organise events aimed to upskill our suppliers' sustainability knowledge; recently, 78 suppliers turned up to learn about energy at our joint supply chain event in Manchester.
Paul Lynch, our Head of Energy Services, spoke about how our supply chain partners can contribute to us meeting our clients' requirements. He also provided interesting and useful hints and tips that any supplier can adapt to improve their own practices:
"Let's use the School to improve. It's a great resource."
Other partners of the School and Carbon Trust also gave their advice, in between a mix of interactive group- exercises.
One of these was the ‘Innovation Bootcamp’. Teams were given a big poster of a location and with Post-it notes they then put potential energy opportunities on the building. They then also listed the potential blockers to these initiative. A really interesting exercise that brought many innovative ideas to the table!
Following the event, we were pleased to hear the attendees’ feedback. 89% rated the training good or excellent and 73% said they are certain or likely they’ll implement the training/ideas in their organisations.
“[The School can] create a better understanding and help in developing myself to drive culture throughout my team.”, one attending supplier said.
Our next event with the School will be a Fairness, Inclusion and Respect workshop on 4 July. Why don’t you join us?
VINCI Facilities has supported the Arc in the Park children's charity in Canning Town over the last couple of years.
It has undergone an enormous change, and we recently attended its renaming launch.
Cutting the ribbon was a mighty crew of football legends including Sir Trevor Brooking, former England midfielder and Terrence Brown Former chairman and honorary life president of West Ham United FC. There was also David Gold and David Sullivan both joint Chairman of West Ham United Football Club. The ground where the Arc is situated is the first site on which West Ham United played their very first game over 100 years ago.
The footballing gentlemen handed over a cheque for £12,000 to the Arc during its renaming ceremony at which they all spoke. Now known asTerrence Brown Arc in the Park their new owner is Ambition Aspire Achieve (AAA). AAA is still running with the same staff and its daily management by Kevin Jenkins OBE and his wife Paula but has broken away from the local Community Links charity to stand alone.
The children turned out with their families for face painting and shenanigans and even Sir Trevor had a go on one of the swings (in fact he needed help to get off it). A great day was had by all in what heralds the start of a new era for the Arc and its patrons, trustees and all stakeholders. VINCI of course will continue to support the Charity.
We are only halfway through 2017 and there has already been at least two significant achievements in terms of energy supply for our nation:
First, on April the 21st the National Grid announced Britain's first full day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution. This was then followed by the National Grid announcing that for the first time ever, renewable energy sources provided more than half UK electricity.
These are two historic milestone achievements that express Britain's shift away from carbon fuels and towards a low carbon economy. The Government has pledged to phase out coal - the most polluting fossil fuel - from the system completely by 2025, as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions in the UK.
Does this mean anything for VINCI? Yes. It's a change in perceptions and expectation that will, and already is, affecting us. Energy is higher on the agenda for everyone. Last year we were legally required to carried out ESOS audits to map where we as a business could save energy. This year that's being actioned. On contract level, there are already an increasing number of renewable energy initiatives being undertaken in various locations. We’ve also got our Energy Management Services team fully up and running to help us enhance our offering to clients.
In celebration of National Volunteers Week, we saw the beginning of a programme of 21 dates over the Summer where VINCI will participate in our very own, multi award winning, Reading from the Start Programme.
Kicking off this week in Hackney where the programme started back in 2013 was BSS's Josephine O'Connor, business and community investment manager, who will also attend the Chingford programme. Other dates will see Martina Hopper, resident and community liaison manager covering Thamesmead and Debbie Ashcroft, resident liaison officer looking after the Bow area.
National Volunteers Week ended following much social media coverage, when VINCI, along with its client Peabody and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library; have taken to the airwaves to ensure our programme is known.
VINCI has recently signed a continuation of the previous unprecedented funding and increased it by no less than £10,000 per annum. We really are seeing massive societal impact with this programme.
Housing director Russell Payne said, "This is a remakeable programme and our teams along with their counterpats at Peabody work hard to ensure its existence. To date, Peabody is working with over 100 volunteers which just shows that community cohesion and volunteeering are very much alive in the hiosuing sector."
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Note to editors
VINCI Facilities is a leading provider of facilities management services to the public and private sector.
Our solutions are commercially sound, are customer focused and provide clients with the information necessary to make strategic decisions about their estate.
By integrating services and introducing a range of best practice measures, including work flow and performance management against strict KPIs, we provide our clients with cost certainty, cost saving, consistency of service and efficiency gains.