Barnardo’s students break ground at Melfield Gardens

Last month, Social Value Manager Alison Cormack and Marketing & New Business Assistant Sophie Hill met with Rebecca Knowles, Children’s Services Manager at Barnardo’s Building Hope Academy, to see how Jerram Falkus could work with Barnardo’s. A week later, we had the students from the Academy visiting our Melfield Gardens site in Lewisham for their very own ‘groundbreaking’ event. The ceremony marked the commencement of construction works on site.

Melfield Gardens is a £12.5m residential Passivhaus scheme for Phoenix Community Housing. The project work will involve the demolition of the existing building, followed by the design and construction of 32 residential units and a community room.

The groundbreaking event was the first of a number of Social Value commitments Jerram Falkus has agreed to fulfil as part of our new working relationship with the Academy, who are located close to our Melfield Gardens site.

The centre currently hosts 14 students, from NEET or care backgrounds, aged between 16 – 19, studying Level 1 Multi Skills in Construction. This includes dry lining, taping and joining, skimming, plastering, painting, tiling and wall papering as well as obtaining their CSCS card.

After the students got to see and learn more about the site, Project Manager Michael Nevins had the pleasure of educating the group on the traditional construction ceremony of groundbreaking. The students were full of questions as they watched the excavators digging into the ground. They also took it in turns to dig the shiny Jerram Falkus shovel into the ground and take a photo with it to commemorate the moment. After this, they headed back to the centre pleased with their complimentary Jerram Falkus goody bags.

Rebecca said: “Thank you so much to Alison, Sophie and Michael for taking the time to show us the Melfield Gardens site. The students were inspired by the talks and really enjoyed the visit. The visit was the first time our pupils were able to link what they are learning to a real-life workplace. We are very grateful to have Jerram Falkus supporting the programme, and we look forward to working on more activities together in the near future.”

As part of our Social Value commitments, we will also be hosting on site work experience placements for some of the students in May, with more placements to follow in the future. The group will regularly undertake site visits and will also benefit from information and training sessions delivered by our staff. We will also make a financial donation, as well as donate teaching materials from a subcontractor.

Alison said: “We are delighted to be working with Barnardo’s. Getting the chance to use our knowledge and resources to better equip these young people for the working world is something we are very privileged to be able to do. All young people should have access to opportunities like these, they are seriously valuable.”

Learn more about Barnardo’s here.

Learn more about Melfield Gardens here.