Our Parklife Community Interest Company (CIC) is a social enterprise on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park designed to help deliver the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is a truly innovative joint venture, being the first CIC to bring together skills and experience from private, charitable and social enterprise sectors in one organisation.
Our Parklife was created by idverde and Engie as part of their successful partnership bid to look after Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the games through the 12-year Estates and Facilities Management (EFM) contract. The CIC was specifically designed to deliver the socio-economic legacy commitments, contribute to the successful delivery of the EFM contract and be financially self-sustaining. It does this by creating measurable, positive social impact for local people through how the park is managed and maintained by involving local people in services, activities and events. This is achieved through employment and training, volunteering and providing services on the park. The income the CIC generates from the services it provides is reinvested in realising its aims.
Our Parklife is a key resource within the Park Management Plan and enables idverde to deliver and maintain BALI award-winning parklands by supporting three key areas.
Firstly, local employment was a key legacy commitment, and idverde works with Our Parklife to deliver this by providing local residents with unique opportunities to gain and pursue careers in horticulture. This is achieved through a tailored Pre-Employment Training course, designed to give unemployed local people the opportunity to try the sector, gain a Level 1 in horticulture and some industry experience over a six-week period. It also gives idverde – as the prospective employer – the opportunity to look closely at potential employees. Upon course completion, each candidate was offered an interview and successful applicants taken into the workforce, boosting the local economy and improving contract delivery through local knowledge and greater ownership by employees.
Secondly, volunteering, through the Gamesmakers, was a key success of the 2012 Olympic Games and became an important legacy commitment in the EFM contract. idverde has worked closely with Our Parklife to provide thousands of hours (2,142 hours between March – December 2017) of volunteering opportunities, all carefully designed to add value to the park and its biodiversity whilst promoting best practice in volunteering and providing opportunities for local people to learn new skills, build confidence, develop social networks and improve well-being. idverde is charged with delivering real and measurable contributions to biodiversity on the park through habitat creation and management, and through the establishment of the Park as part of the London wide ecological network. Our Parklife provides many opportunities to combine education, play and volunteering with involvement in biodiversity and makes a considerable contribution to this contractual commitment.
Finally, idverde has assisted Our Parklife in generating income streams so it can sustain its work into the future. So far idverde has helped Our Parklife to generate income from sales of honey and from the sale of corporate volunteering days on the park to a range of large city-based corporations.
This partnership has enabled each party to meet their respective KPIs on the Park, whilst also delivering measurable and sustained social change for the Park’s local communities. It is a benchmark example of how commercial and charitable organisations can work together to the benefit of all.
For more information on Our Parklife visit the website: ourparklife.co.uk