idverde (via its legacy company, Quadron Services), has provided grounds maintenance services to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea since 2003, and was very proud to be re-awarded the £2.4m pa contract in January 2008 for a twelve-year term.
The partnering contract includes managing and maintaining the prestigious Green Flag accredited Holland Park with its famous Kyoto Japanese Gardens, social services sites throughout the Borough, and all parks, gardens, cemeteries and grave digging, maintenance of sports pitches, shrub, flower and rose bed maintenance, parks patrol and security, building cleansing and sports management including booking services.
In recent years there have been a number of large capital investments in the Borough, including a state of the art wet play area at Kensington Memorial Park, a complete overhaul of Little Wormwood Scrubs (resulting in a Green Flag for the first time in 2011), a new play area and toilet block with green wall and roof at St Luke’s, and an improvement in the play areas and infrastructure at Westfield Park (again resulting in a Green Flag for the first time in 2011).
We worked with the Royal Borough during its public consultation exercises prior to deciding upon improvements to be made as part of the ten-year Parks Strategy, to establish the local community’s aspirations for their parks and open spaces. We have also worked closely with local schools to raise children’s awareness and enjoyment of horticulture. For instance, children from St Mary’s School designed the bedding for the front of their school, which we subsequently planted.
idverde’s investment in the local community extends to our recruitment policies, with apprentices regularly employed on the contract, and all employees are encouraged to enhance their skills levels through undertaking training schemes, including recognised qualifications in horticulture.
We also encourage volunteering, and numerous groups have undertaken tasks such as creating woodland paths in Holland Park’s Forest School, and building bug hotels in the Ecology Area, under the supervision of our staff.
Awards and achievemnts
The Royal Borough has received numerous accolades for its parks and green spaces during the contract term. These include 10 Green Flag Awards in recognition of its high quality parks, and coveted Principal Awards from the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) for the excellent maintenance carried out by our teams in the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park (2013), and in the Royal Borough as a whole (2008).
The Royal Borough has also enjoyed great success in the London in Bloom Awards, with the Borough overall regularly receiving a Gold Award, as well as numerous Gold Awards for individual sites, including Holland Park, Gunnersbury Cemetery, Little Wormwood Scrubs, Kensington Memorial Park, St Luke’s Gardens, and Westfield Park.
Quality and environmental systems
idverde’s in-house CORMS quality system used to manage the contract is ISO 9001 accredited, and all of idverde’s local authority grounds maintenance contracts are ISO 14001 accredited, meaning they have audited environmental management systems in place. In order to further support The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s environmental objectives, idverde has recently adopted the Foamstream method of weed control on the contract, following a successful trial in the London Borough of Southwark. Foamstream is an environmentally friendly method of weed control, which kills weeds using a mixture of hot water and foam, and which thereby greatly reduces the need for the use of herbicides on the contract.
We also assisted in the improvements identified by the North Kensington Environmental project, which involved identifying and implementing environmental improvements to prioritise grot spots. Some examples include converting Kensal Road open space, which suffered fly-tipping and litter, into a pocket park by extensive new planting and paved seating areas.
Other environmental considerations include replacing several areas of annual bedding in the contract area with permanent bedding, which reduces waste. Much of the annual bedding which is used in the Borough’s parks is propagated by idverde’s nursery staff in the glasshouses within Holland Park, thereby reducing the carbon footprint associated with ordering in the bedding as well as helping to reduce costs for our client.