National property services provider Wates Smartspace has created £1.687m of social value for the local Cheshire community during the second year of a major fire station refurbishment programme. Year one of the contract created £413k.
Working in partnership with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Wates’ social value investment during the second year of the programme has seen a total of 364 local people benefit from employment and skills initiatives.
As well as making a commitment to create opportunities for employment and training, Wates pledged to engage with local students and employ local supply chain partners throughout the five-year programme. Local students were also given the opportunity to take part in a series of virtual workshops through The Prince’s Trust kickstart scheme, which is designed to support 16–24-year-olds into employment.
During its second year, the programme has seen the complete refurbishment of four stations in Widnes, Northwich, Holmes Chapel and Audlem.
Each fire station has been fitted with a new roof and insulation, new windows and doors, and new appliance doors. Welfare areas such as toilets, showers and communal areas, as well as office spaces have all been refurbished. The stations have been fitted with new gyms for firefighters as well community rooms, enabling them to serve as free-of-charge community hubs for Scouts and other local community groups.
Scott Camp, Managing Director for Wates Smartspace commented: ‘We’re delighted that we have been able to support and invest in the local communities through our fire station refurbishment programme. Providing young people with the opportunity to start their career in our industry and supporting people into employment forms a key part of this investment.
‘We are very much looking forward to commencing work on the next phase of the programme and to continue the opportunity to give back to the local community.’
The refurbishments form part of an investment to modernise 19 fire stations across the county. The programme has been divided into six potential phases of work to allow fire stations to remain operational, reducing disruption and ensuring continuity of critical services.