Facilities management employees have been recognised with BEMs and MBEs in the Queen’s New Year Honours List particularly for services during the pandemic.
Kim Phillips, head of catering and facilities services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, receives an MBE for public service supporting essential frontline services in cleaning, school catering, caretaking, and school crossing patrols. She is also a director at the British Cleaning Council (BCC), and the National chairperson of BCC members the Association of Building Cleaning Direct Service organisations (ABCD). She joined the borough council in 2005 to lead soft facilities management provision. Along with colleagues, she set up the Lateral Flow Test Centre at Riverside House in Rotherham, and during the pandemic has shared her expertise on cleaning and hygiene in national webinars.
On her days off she has also been helping to prepare meals for children during school holidays and packed 3,000 school hampers last Easter, with the support of her family.
Phillips said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award for public service which has been my career and my life.
“I am one of hundreds of employees across the country who have endeavoured to fight the pandemic and keep everyone safe and I would like to dedicate the award to all the unsung frontline heroes who have maintained a positive attitude in the face of adversity, which is just as important to success as ability.”
Phillips was elected national chairperson of the ABCD, which comprises managers of building cleaning services employed by local councils, four years ago and became a BCC director in June 2020.
BCC chair Jim Melvin said: “My warmest congratulations go to our colleague Kim for this well-deserved recognition. I am equally sure that her family will be beyond proud, as they should.
“Kim has made an invaluable contribution both to the cleaning and hygiene sector and the wider community thanks to her expertise, dedication, commitment and hard work. Everyone at the BCC is extremely proud of her.
“Reading the words of the leader of Rotherham Council, the award also assists in shining a light on the work of many of our industry staff during the pandemic, who work often behind the scenes to protect others. Kim is a credit to the industry but most of all to herself.”
Councillor Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: “Throughout the pandemic, she has worked above and beyond in the efforts to keep the public and staff safe. These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication public service colleagues have shown over the past two years, and Kim’s award is thoroughly deserved.”
June Patterson, 76, who works as a cleaning supervisor at the Northern School of Art in Middlesbrough, has been awarded the BEM for her services to education. Patterson, from Acklam, ensures that young people in the Tees Valley area receive a high-quality education in tidy and clean campus premises. She told Teesside News: "I'm still in shock. When the letter came it was to go to a proper service. I thought it can't be a proper service, I'm too old!
"I just went into a heap really! I thought this can't be happening to me. I thought I'm getting a medal! I think it's because I have been at the place for 45 years. Last year I got a lifetime achievement award from the principal. I have no plans to retire until they throw me out. I will be there with a walking frame!”
Former school cook Angela Blower, 59, from Redcar, who retired in 2021 after spending her entire career working for Middlesbrough Council, was another BEM recipient for her services to education. She began working for the local authority after leaving school, working her way up to be catering manager, a post she held for 24 years. On being awarded a BEM for services to education, She told the Northern Echo: "I was so surprised and shocked. It was totally unexpected. It's a pleasure, really. I've done 43 years with the council and it's been a lovely career."
David Porter, 67, a retired security guard who formerly worked at Sunderland University, was made an MBE. In 2017, Porter was awarded Security Officer of The Year by the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) for his actions during a routine patrol that saved a woman’s life. This incident came only months after he had evacuated students and coordinated emergency services at the halls of residence after a fire broke out. When the Covid-19 epidemic began, he deferred retirement to assist the university security team. Speaking to the Sunderland Echo about the moment he discovered he had been nominated for the honour, he said: "To tell you the truth, I thought it was some kind of joke or prank. I was about to tear it up and put it in the bin.”
Avin Rabheru, founder and CEO at Housekeep, has been awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship and digital innovation, Housekeep started in London in 2014 and has delivered millions of regular cleans to homes across the capital. For the past three years the firm has featured in the Financial Times ‘FT1000’ list of fastest-growing companies in Europe, reaching 6th place in 2019. On the firm’s website, he said: “I'm delighted to be recognised in the Queen's Honours list. Credit must go to the terrific colleagues who have built Housekeep alongside me, as well to our cleaners and tradespeople, who are the lifeblood of our business.”
Matthew White, catering director at Reading University and immediate past chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), gets an MBE for his contribution to the hospitality industry in 29 years of service. At Reading, he turned a £650,000 loss to making a £12 million contribution, investing back into education and research through changing the catering operation to include refillable drinks bottles to cut the use of single-use plastics and launched a street food market on campus.
Janet McAlister, lately lead officer for NISCA, the Northern Ireland School Caterers' Association, in Northern Ireland, was awarded an MBE for services to education in the province. She has pioneered encouraging healthy eating among young people.
Hardip Lawana, a senior officer with the Home Office’s Border Force in Greater London, has been awarded the MBE for services to border security and workplace wellbeing.
Antonis Eleftheriou, contract director, Sovereign Base Areas, Sodexo, is awarded an MBE for services to FM in support of the British Forces in Cyprus. London-born Eleftheriou, who lives in Larnaca, has worked for Sodexo in Cyprus since 2003. On receiving the award, he said: “I am honoured to receive an MBE. It is very much a team award as I could not have achieved it without the determination, commitment and hard work of all those that work with me.”
Sodexo provides a range of services including catering, cleaning, waste services and logistics support at six military bases in Cyprus that are home to deployed troops and their families. Eleftheriou and his team have provided valuable support with operations such as Op Shader and the provision of humanitarian aid of food, water and shelter to refugees who landed on beaches at RAF Akrotiri.
Paul Anstey, CEO of Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We are immensely proud of Tony. He is an exceptional leader and has worked tirelessly over the years to provide excellence and compassion in sometimes challenging and unexpected situations. It is testament to the respect he has earned for his outstanding commitment and hard work that he’s been recognised with this honour.”
Marcia Glanvill from Lydiate, in Sefton, Merseyside, who works in administrative support at HM Revenue and Customs, receives an MBE for services to workplace wellness and to the community in Merseyside.
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