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Press Release

Interserve and groundwork join forces to support communities

by Interserve Press Office | May 20, 2013

Interserve, the international support services and construction group and Groundwork, the national environmental regeneration charity, has formed a unique partnership that makes use of surplus equipment and construction materials for community projects across the UK.

Tim Haywood with Groundwork Chief Executive Sir Tony Hawkhead at 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Tim Haywood, Interserve Group Finance Director with Groundwork Chief Executive Sir Tony Hawkhead at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The signing of the agreement will take place at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May), where Groundwork is exhibiting. Interserve has played a key role in supporting the charity's exhibition with volunteers, materials and logistical support.

At the heart of the relationship is a commitment from both organisations to support the delivery of community projects using materials that can be recycled or are surplus to requirements throughout the Interserve business.

Groundwork Trusts across the country have access to a whole range of surplus items, including everything from office furniture to new or recycled building materials such as timber, cement, bricks and concrete slabs.

By accessing the SurPlus Network database created by Interserve, Groundwork staff will be able to see a list of surplus items that can be used to start or complete projects that improve the environment for the communities in which the regional charities operate.

These projects include creating shared spaces where people can grow their own food, opportunities to learn new skills and where communities can come together in safe, environmentally-friendly areas.

The SurPlus Network database will also form a link to Interserve employees that have expressed an interest in volunteering time to work on local projects.

The initiative underlines Interserve's wide-ranging approach to sustainability and was inspired by the company's recently launched plan ("SustainAbilities") which includes 48 ambitious targets on its journey to becoming one of the leading sustainable businesses by 2020.

Tim Haywood, Group Finance Director and Head of Sustainability at Interserve said: "The vision of this partnership with Groundwork, a hugely respected charity, is to drive change in behaviour and attitudes across our business, our supply chain partners and local communities. We hope to do this by recognising the value of surplus material that is generated as a by-product of our business activities and by starting to treat waste as a resource and an opportunity, rather than a cost or a problem.

"This scheme is an exciting element of our plan to embed sustainability at the core of our operations and by working collaboratively with our partners, takes us further to becoming a sustainable business."

Groundwork Chief Executive Sir Tony Hawkhead added: "Partnerships of all kinds are central to what we do. It's heartening to see a major company like Interserve taking an imaginative step to see that precious resources are put to good use in communities that face some significant challenges.

"The country is facing major social and environmental difficulties. Our new relationship with Interserve will help us to address these issues."

The first project between Interserve and Groundwork created a shared community and allotment space, which is used to help young people gain vocational training in horticulture and learn basic building skills.

The former derelict site in Wednesbury in the West Midlands has been rejuvenated using surplus building materials - all of which would have previously gone to landfill sites. Interserve worked with Groundwork to create communal areas and facilities for disabled people to enjoy the space and learn new skills. More than 75 employees from across the company gave up their time to bring the project to fruition.

The network is now in operation across Interserve. All qualifying projects must provide measurable community benefit, either environmentally or socially and used solely for the benefit of the communities involved.

All project requests will be assessed and agreed by the partnership board. Both organisations will measure the value of the donated materials and employee volunteer time. This information will be used to report on the social return on investment that the project is contributing to the local communities involved.

- End -

For further information please contact:

Nigel Charlesworth
Head of Corporate Communications, Interserve
0118 9602 332

Peter Haddock
01785 255 146 / 07818 046 793
Edson Evers

About Interserve

Interserve's vision is to redefine the future for people and places. It is one of the world's foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally, offering advice, design, construction, equipment and facilities management and front-line services. Interserve is based in the UK and is listed in the FTSE 250 index. The Group employs some 50,000 people worldwide and in 2012 generated gross revenue of £2.3 billion.
For news follow @interservenews

About Groundwork

Groundwork is the community charity with a green heart. We're passionate about helping people reach their potential and committed to creating better places with a greener future. By combining these driving forces into thousands of practical, locally led projects we make a difference greater than the sum of its parts.

Whether we're tackling climate change by helping people out of fuel poverty, bringing out the best in young people by helping them to improve their local area, building stronger communities by improving green spaces or getting people back into work by creating green jobs; by bringing people and environment together we've been changing places and changing lives since the 1980s.

We know we'll never achieve our vision without working together with passionate individuals, proactive public services and innovative parts of the private sector so partnerships have been a founding principle built into our approach from the start.

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