24 November 2015 | James Richards
At this year's BIFM Awards Robertson Facilities Management won the 'highly commended' accolade in the Societal Impact category.
Robertson Facilities Management is part of the Robertson Group, an infrastructure, support services and construction company. In 2010, it created the Robertson Communities group to be a professionally managed community service, turning schools into vibrant community hubs.
Robertson Communities facilitates community use in school buildings during evenings, weekends and school holidays. The service is self-funded, and the profits generated from community activities are given to schools and reinvested in local CSR activities.
The service is based on building meaningful and lasting partnerships between schools and their communities while delivering high-quality services to enhance opportunities for local people.
As part of the Robertson Communities service, the team supports organisations such as clubs, birthday parties, or societies and individuals looking to hire schools for events. Some of the free services it offers are: advice and guidance from the communities team; discounted rates on bookings; assistance in applying for funding; and free publicity and marketing in the buildings it manages.
To deliver this service, Robertson combines its FM expertise with expert community knowledge to provide schools with a fully managed professional service, using locally recruited staff to promote and run the facilities.
The communities team was picked specifically for its expertise in maximising the benefit to the areas it works within. The group comprises 21 people across several management positions, community supervisors, liaison managers, community attendants and community caretakers. It works in partnership with the school, community, local authority and other key stakeholders to create a bespoke solution.
Because the team works in partnership with many local authorities, it can offer prices that are in line with local authority prices in the area. The aim is to offer a flexible service and build trust between both parties to help hirers develop their business or club into a successful community amenity.
Out of the Robertson Communities group has grown the Community Benefits team. This employs local people and works with local business to provide training for disadvantaged young people. It also works closely with schools to educate and inform students about community projects.
The group has employed 10 ex-students, 21 people from local communities, and in the past 12 months 94 birthdays have been held at participating schools, and 577 groups have let facilities, with the number of bookings approaching 13,000.