Bridgend School Hailed for Bringing Economic and Social Benefits to Local Community20-07-2012
The construction of the new flagship secondary education campus in Bridgend County Borough has been highlighted as an example of best practice in delivering genuine economic and social benefits to local communities.
The £34 million Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen, which is being constructed by the Leadbitter Group on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council with the help of Welsh Government funding, has already brought major economic benefits to the area - through employing and training local people and through sourcing several million pounds worth of materials from the vicinity.
Representatives from businesses throughout south east Wales attended a breakfast meeting, where they heard why the new school is a prime example of how construction projects can play a valuable role in delivering real employment and training opportunities, as well as generating economic benefits for a local area.
The presentation showcased how the school, scheduled to open at the start of the new school year in 2013, will not only facilitate community engagement through the use of dedicated community facilities, child care provision and sports facilities once open, but is already offering many community benefits for the immediate and wider community during the construction phase.
Spokespeople from Constructing Excellence in Wales, which hosted the event in conjunction with South East Wales Best Practice Club, emphasised the importance of such schemes to the local economy and the benefits that a construction project can bring to communities. Representatives from Value Wales and the Construction Youth Trust also spoke on this theme.
Mike Little of the Leadbitter Group, Julie Griffiths, Group Manager of Strategic Planning and Resources for the Children's Directorate at Bridgend County Borough Council, and Ellie Fry, Group Manager of the Regeneration Communities Directorate at Bridgend County Borough Council, explained how the school was subject to Local Investment Targets, which stipulate that suppliers, materials and employees should be sourced from the local community, in order to ensure that economic investment should bring benefits to local people.
Mike Little explains: “For Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen, we have recently held a supply chain event, in conjunction with Supplier Development Service and Bridgend County Borough Council, to encourage local companies to bid for work on the project. The event itself was a huge success with 67 companies from the town expressing an interest. We are currently in discussions with several of these companies.
“As part of the local authority’s and our commitment to the local community, we intend to source a minimum of 25% of the materials used at the school from Bridgend postcode areas. An additional 50% of material will be source within a 22 mile radius of the site. So far we are on target to exceed these goals, with £6.2 million of materials coming from Bridgend and a further £7.8 million coming from within the 22 mile radius.”
So far, 55 people living in Bridgend have worked on the project and a further 117 have been employed from within the 22 mile radius. Five apprentices have been taken on and more are planned in September, while 14 people from Bridgend have worked as trainees.
Councillor Mel Nott, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “Even before it has opened Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen is proving to be a true community campus, bringing significant economic benefits to the area. Bridgend County Borough Council is proud to be part of such an ambitious project which will ultimately deliver a world class community college for students and the wider community.”
Located in Tondu, the school is set to be the first in Wales to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating. It will cater for 1,570 pupils aged 11–18 and incorporate extensive community facilities for use outside of school hours.