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Creating value for the whole community

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September saw the launch of the Better Learning report, documenting the seven-year partnership between SCAPE and Bedford Borough Council that began back in 2012. It’s been a long journey, and at SCAPE we’ve been proud to play our part, helping to create new school places, modernise facilities and convert the local education system from three to two tiers.

The project was a real success for local schools, and as we saw in our recent collaboration blog, close working relationships were key to making it happen. But thanks to a focus on wider social value, children and teachers were far from the only ones to feel its benefits.

SCAPE encourages and builds social value into every project, with the aim of making a positive, measurable impact in communities, both short and long term. In Bedford, we worked with our contractors to create fresh opportunities for local people to learn new skills, develop their careers and grow their businesses.

Building skills, creating opportunities

In all, 404 students from local schools and colleges came along to workshops to learn more about the construction industry. Over 190 students from Bedford’s schools, colleges and universities also came on site visits, where they got hands-on experience of construction roles. Both of these initiatives gave young people the opportunity to explore careers in the industry, opening up new possibilities and nurturing a pipeline of local talent.

For those already decided on a construction career, the programme of works delivered 233 apprenticeship weeks. These gave young adults the opportunity to take the next step and build real-world experience. Short courses in key skills and industry-related subjects were also attended by 640 local people, helping to upskill the community and improve employment prospects.

Castle Newnham School benefited from a donation of surplus materials from the Kier Eastern project team working onsite, allowing pupils to engage in outdoor learning by building their own 100% recycled outdoor classroom.

Supporting great local businesses

Learners weren’t the only ones to engage with the project. Together with our framework delivery partners, we commissioned exceptional local SMEs within the supply chain, supporting the borough’s own businesses. It was an opportunity for independent companies to win valuable contracts, grow their reputations and make their mark on the local landscape, long into the future.

In total, 98% of work was contracted locally, 46% of the budget was spent within 20 miles of the site and 59% of the project’s labour was carried out by people living within 20 miles.

Looking after the local environment

Finally, the Bedford project was a great example of how major schemes can make a huge impact on a community, but minimal impact on the environment. Using local businesses and labour reduced the project’s carbon footprint, while careful management and recycling of waste meant a fantastic 99% was diverted from landfill.

- 98% of work contracted locally

- 100% of waste diverted from landfill

- 640 local people attended short courses

- 233 apprenticeship weeks created

- 404 students came to skills workshops

- 194 students came on site visits