Beyond refurbishment: a collaborative community project

July 10, 2018

Sustainable Homes’ partner Mitie talks about going beyond refurbishment and getting involved with the local community, by creating new opportunities for services and employment.

A dilapidated old building might seem like an unlikely starting point for dreams of an ambitious community project.

But it was through the refurbishment of an unused, derelict building that Mitie and Orbit worked together to create a state-of-the-art new nursery, The Little Daydreams Nursery.

The building sits beneath the Orchard House tower block and local estate, where there is an acute need for childcare. The nursery is positioned right at the heart of the local community, providing a central hub for children to grow and learn.

The dream began with an Orbit Housing self-employment course when a customer with a vision to provide a day care centre for children with special needs sought help to revive Orchard House. A lot of hard work was required to bring it up to standard.

With a budget of £20,000 and a six-week timeline, collaboration in the delivery of this community investment project was key. From site surveys to completion, Mitie turned around Orchard House in just three weeks. At the end of this time there was a brand-new day centre, kitted out with a sensory room, management office and new kitchen.

Orchard House now provides 42 families with support and access to specialist services.

The purpose-built sensory room offers relief and a quiet, safe environment for children with additional needs. Orchard House also provides a network of support for parents to interact with those who face similar pressures. Among lone parent households this also offers relief from social isolation.

The project has enabled one of Orbit’s customers to set up a successful business that now employs five people from the local area. Orbit is also using the additional income from Orchard House to reinvest back into the communities served.

Using HACT’s Social Value Calculator, Mitie’s £20,000 investment produced a social impact value of over £251,626. This means that for every £1 invested there is a social impact of £12.58.

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