In the last two years, Tesco has undergone a massive period of organisational workplace change. The strategic approach has been to review the property portfolio, relocating all functions to the growing Welwyn Garden City estate and to close down and sell the buildings that can consequently be released. This has included the closure of Tesco’s training facility, the Ponsbourne Hotel. The brief was to clear the hotel and conference centre in such a way that the maximum amount of items possible could go to local charities and social enterprises, with local hospices and homeless charities as a priority.
The focus has been on delivering this programme as sustainably and cost effectively as possible in order to deliver the best social, environmental and economic outcomes. Premier worked proactively with Tesco’s FM Director and team to help devise, plan and programme the workplace change requirements, with a flexible team managing the project and day to day activities.
Although Premier Workplace Services had worked effectively with many charities and had carried out very large clearances, this was a unique challenge because of the size of the project and the diversity of the content of the site. Another challenge was presented by the timings as the clearance had to start on the 27th December and be completed within 3 weeks.
Over a 6 month period and whilst the hotel and conference centre was still operational, Premier Workplace Services visited and audited the hotel, capturing a detailed inventory of items from beds and crockery through to garden chairs and gym equipment. Tesco would be reusing as much of the office type equipment possible to upgrade their own estate where viable. However the more domestic and social items were all ear marked for donation rather than resale.
The next phase was to try and find homes for around 1000 of these items spread across this diverse complex. All the items were listed in an inventory with a description of the item, a photograph and a unique number and location information. The manager of Premier Workplace Services’ Giving Back Project liaised with existing charity partners - in particular hospices and homeless charities - and also developed new relationships with organisations identified by Tesco. An understanding was developed of which organisations required which items and the inventory was managed accordingly to ensure that there was clarity around the destination for each item. All items were being delivered out to the charities completely free of charge with the costs either covered by Tesco or by Premier through The Giving Back Project.
Because of the sheer volume of the items that needed to be cleared from the Ponsbourne Hotel, it was essential that as many items as possible were transported directly from site to the receiving charities to avoid unnecessary double handling and storage costs. To this extent an additional logistical challenge was presented as the clearance was being delivered through the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
In order to deliver the best outcome during this process, Premier Workplace Services managed the clearance directly on-site so they could oversee all elements of the clearance. This was critical to liaise with the hotel staff, make sure all items were cross referenced against the initial audit and marked up accordingly for the correct destinations. The Premier Workplace Services project team then ensured items were batched up and delivered to meet both the project timeline and also the access requirements of the charities supported. Items which had donation potential but had not as yet found a home were also returned to The Giving Back Project storage.
Services Provided Included
- Developing a sustainable and cost effective solution for removal, resale and recycling of furniture and equipment to deliver the best social, environmental and economic outcomes
- Move and logistics planning, working together with the client
- Auditing contents and preparing a detailed inventory
- Developing relationships with new charity organisations
- Supply, labelling and packing and unpacking of crates
- On-site management of the clearance
- Storage of items
Tesco and Premier were both delighted with what was achieved through this project.
- 120 items (4 tonnes) of office type furniture reused internally saving 9.75 tonnes of CO2(e)
- 745 items (22 tonnes) of hotel assets donated directly saving over 22 tonnes of CO2(e)
- Estimated financial value of items donated to charities to date £55 - 65k
- In total only 6.6 tonnes (12.5%) was sent for recycling and energy recovery
- In total 73% by weight of the items cleared were sent to charity
- Items donated included 15 sofas, 148 meeting tables, 78 cabinets and 291 armchairs
“Donations such as have been made by Tesco and Premier has helped us to continue to be there for local people, at what is often described as the darkest time of their lives. It helps us raise the money to enable us to continue to provide specialist care, and put life into days, where we cannot put days into life.” Gill Macdonald - Communications Manager – Isabel Hospice
“Premier Sustain have, via their Giving Back Project website, provided an invaluable source of furniture and equipment that allows us to create a warm and welcoming environment within the hostel. The mirrors, wardrobes, tea stations etc. supplied from the recent Tesco hotel clearance have all been found a good home with our residents. The products and services provided by Premier are a key element to the ongoing running of our hostels and with the funds saved by the use of the donated equipment we are able to direct those funds to other, more worthy, areas.” John Cooper, Property and Facilities Manager
“As the FM managing an extensive and complex estate it is easy to be distracted by reducing costs as our priority. Working with Premier with their innovative services, we have recognised we can play a key role in supporting our wider community and those most vulnerable in it in very practical as well as financial ways. This approach has now become our business as usual and will become the manner in which we repurpose assets to the benefit of the wider social community around us.” Andrew Neale – Director of Facilities Tesco Stores Ltd.