10 October 2016 | FM World team
BIFM Awards 2016 - Societal Impact
Vinci Facilities' 'Reading from the Start' (RftS) project has won this year's BIFM Awards 2016 Societal Impact category. This recognises exceptional benefit to society created and delivered through excellent facilities management practice.
In 2013 a team from Vinci Facilities entered into a 10-year contract to provide FM services at Peabody's housing estates across London, where it began the largest single social initiative undertaken by the company, investing funds over three years into developing an early intervention literacy programme.
Peabody provides social housing in some of London's poorest areas, which are facing a legacy of illiteracy stemming from both its poorly educated residents and those whose first languages are not English. Most of the children start school with a lower reading age than their peers, and few under-fives read books at home.
The initial terms of the contract had assigned funds to apprenticeships, work placements, community fun days, school visits and training. But, spurred by the passing of the Social Value Act in 2013, a year into the partnership, the team decided a larger sum should be directed to a single initiative to tackle a long-term issue to reach more people over time. Match-funded by Peabody, Vinci could deliver a three-year literacy campaign in addition to promises in the initial tender - supporting the client's philanthropic mission and improving the communities on the estates while achieving its core business values.
Children receive a book every month until their fifth birthday, which is theirs to keep for use in group sessions or at home. They then receive two hours of teaching a month from parents and professionals (54 vetted and trained volunteers, from both partner teams and local residents, have taken part to date) at dedicated reading corners in local community centres. Reading sessions are backed up by activities such as trips to local parks, libraries, storytelling and art classes.
Through RftS, youngsters develop social and literacy skills to start school on a level playing field. Parents also receive support in adult literacy and parenting.
The programme, now in its second year, has already touched the lives of more than 400 children and 320 parents across three Peabody boroughs in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington.
Judges were impressed with the originality of the concept and with the plans for its sustainable future."
Highly commended entry was South London & Maudsley NHS Trust: Lambeth sheltered contract, for its vocational training project.