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Three years supporting the legacy of 2012

The Our Parklife Community Interest Company (CIC) was established as a social enterprise to help deliver the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games when the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park reopened to the public in 2014.

The first CIC to bring together skills and experience from the private, charitable and social enterprise sectors in one organisation, Our Parklife works in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation and local communities to ensure that East Londoners benefit from opportunities to volunteer, work and gain new skills on the Park.

2017 marks our third anniversary on the Park and our Annual Report 2016 highlights the positive impact that our truly innovative joint venture has had on local communities.

In our first year Our Parklife:

  • Established the Park Mobility service
  • Developed the Park Champion programme
  • Hosted education visits with local schools and groups
  • Ensured that employment and training opportunities were focused on local communities
  • Developed key relationships and consulted with Park stakeholders
  • Set up and operated Mobile Garden City – the only community garden on the Park
  • Established The Harvest Stomp – an annual community festival celebrating local food growing and resourcefulness
  • Provided event support to the London Stadium and London Lions Basketball Club
Highlights from 2016

Our Parklife has created approximately £2.7m of economic and social value for the local economy. During 2016, the Park Champion Volunteer programme went from strength to strength. Our proud volunteers are the face of the Park, exuding energy, enthusiasm and passion, dedicating over 13,700 hours of their time to customer services, mobility services, events and horticulture.

In 2016, Our Parklife:

  • Coordinated and managed over 850 volunteers giving up over 13,700 hours of their time, creating a value of £133,600 to the Park and £1,849,500 of value through subjective well-being
  • Delivered over 70 accredited training qualifications
  • Supported 15 apprentices in facilities management, horticulture, cleaning and team leading
  • Facilitated 15 school/education visits inspiring local young people to learn about biodiversity, sustainability, career opportunities, energy and landscape architecture
  • Collaborated with local colleges and universities including University College London, Loughborough, University London, University of East London and Queen Mary University
  • Delivered bespoke volunteer placements for over 20 local students with Special Educational Needs from Hackney Community College and BSix College
  • Delivered Customer and Mobility Services welcoming over 67,000 Park visitors and over 9,000 visitors with a mobility impairment
  • Facilitated local employment – our current estate facilities management workforce employs 149 people locally of which 67% are from our surrounding boroughs
  • 50 of our staff were previously unemployed, creating approximately £740,000 for the local economy by getting people back into work
Recognition and success in 2017

On 5 May, Our Parklife was successfully accredited for Investing in Volunteers (IiV) – the UK quality standard for best practice in Volunteer Management. The culmination of over a year of hard work to evidence the amazing contribution that Park Champions make on the Park and recognition of the rewarding, well managed, fun and dynamic programme.

In July, Our Parklife was also awarded a Highly Commended in the The Experian Award for Building Stronger Communities category at the Business at the Community  Responsible Business Awards recognising our role as a catalyst for local regeneration in East London.

Future plans

The Park is a vibrant community which continues to grow and develop and Our Parklife looks forward to building on our success to date as exciting new organisations and institutions move onto the Park.

The CIC is a unique partnership comprising: ENGIE, principal contractor for estates and facilities management; idverde, the parklands management sub-contractor to ENGIE; Renaisi, a local social enterprise specialising in regeneration; and environmental and social regeneration charity Groundwork London. The unique mix of expertise that stems from our founding partners enables us to design new and innovative services and ways of working with Park partners.

Our collective aim is to create measurable, positive social impact for local people through how the Park is managed and maintained by involving local people in services, activities and events. The income we receive for the services we provide is reinvested in realising our aims.

Our key projects include:

  • Developing our services and opportunities to generate revenue
  • Developing new and innovative ways to support local people into jobs on the Park
  • Consulting with our stakeholders

Read the full Our Parklife Annual Report 2016 to find out more about the positive social impact of our work on local communities and our plans for 2017.

If you would like to know more about volunteering or opportunities with Our Parklife, please contact us.

Volunteers build a bike in a day at Mobile Garden City!

One of the many ways that Our Parklife helps to deliver the legacy of London 2012 is by providing opportunities to volunteer in the local community.

Last week, a team of corporate volunteers from ENGIE, joined Groundwork London at Mobile Garden City in the latest in a series of Corporate Volunteering Days, organised by Our Parklife.

Mobile Garden City is an innovative meanwhile community garden using pre-development sites on the Park that is open from July 2015 to October 2017. Following this, the garden will move to a new location on the Park. The aims of the garden are:

· To create a welcoming, beautiful and mobile public garden;
· To demonstrate how to create productive and vibrant community spaces on meanwhile site; and
· To provide food growing, socialising and training opportunities for the whole community.

ENGIE volunteer teams undertook a variety of practical tasks to improve the community garden, facilitated by Groundwork London, including; constructing work benches, weatherproofing and decking out a donated greenhouse, creating a boardwalk, harvesting and planting.

A ‘Build a Bike Workshop’ was also organised with a local community bike social enterprise that has set up a brand new workshop at the same site as Mobile Garden City. The workshop involved a team of six people building a roadworthy vehicle, utilising a selection of parts including two donated bicycles from ENGIE. The team had access to a wide range of tools, plus an expert cycle builder and mechanic, Lawrence Mohammed, who assisted and shared his extensive knowledge and advice on general cycle safety awareness and basic servicing. The bike will go to good use initially as a pool bike for ENGIE employees who work at the Park.

“Such a joy to host today; loads of fun, an incredibly motivated, engaged and interesting group, the perfect first day in the new Pro Bike Service workshop!” 

Lawrence Mohammed, Director/Had Mechanic, pro bike service

pro bike service offers their services to everyone in the local area and have consciously chosen to do this via a gift economy. This means they gift their services and offerings where needed (except any parts which clients need to purchase) and are open to receiving gifts in return. A pop up workshop will be at Here East on 4 August between 12-2pm for anyone who would like to learn more about bike maintenance. Find out more here. You can see highlights from the day including the new bike on its first outing here.

If you want to find out more about volunteering on the Park, please get in touch with us here.

Our Parklife Highly Commended at the 2017 Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards

BITC Responsible Business Awards 2017 Photos: Alastair Fyfe. fyfephoto.com email: alastair@fyfephoto.com
BITC Responsible Business Awards 2017
Photos: Alastair Fyfe. fyfephoto.com
email: alastair@fyfephoto.com

We are delighted to announce that Our Parklife has been awarded a Highly Commended Award in the The Experian Award for Building Stronger Communities category at the Business at the Community  Responsible Business Awards Gala last night. The Award recognises Our Parklife’s commitment to being a catalyst for local regeneration in East London; connecting local communities and people to the Park through employment, volunteering, training and service provision.

Now in their 20th year, the Awards champion the most inspiring businesses who are making a difference by taking action to build more inclusive workplaces, stronger communities and tackle our biggest environmental challenges.

Wilfrid Petrie, CEO, ENGIE UK said: “The Our Parklife model of private, SME and third sector partnership was a key pilot project for ENGIE to trial a new way of working that not only brings meaningful benefits to the business but also real social value to the communities in which ENGIE and our customers operate. The success of the initiative has seen us look to replicate the model in a number of communities across the UK as we work towards leaving a lasting positive social and environmental legacy.”

You can see a full list of all the Highly Commended finalists here: http://awards.bitc.org.uk/home-page/highly-commended

We are accredited!

On 5th May, we found out that Our Parklife was successful in gaining the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) Accreditation – the UK quality standard for best practice in Volunteer Management.

This comes after over a year of hard work to get all the documentation and evidence in place, demonstrating the amazing contribution that you Park Champions make on the Park. From Customer and Mobility Services, Conservation and Biodiversity, Events, Mobile Garden, Community Guiding, Orchard Leaders, Careers days, and all the other wonderful requests we get! Our team and partners try their best to provide a rewarding, well managed, fun and dynamic programme.

Throughout the two day assessment over 30 volunteers were interviewed from all parts of the programme as well as staff and Our Parklife Board members. Feedback was glowing, and we couldn’t be prouder of our team of volunteers. We wanted to thank you all as Park Champions for your passion for the Park, enthusiasm and energy. Thank you also for taking the time to provide your feedback to us, it is really important as we want to develop a programme that is exciting, engaging, interesting and fun for you.

Last year you gave up over 13,700 hours of your time on the Park. AMAZING!
We look forward to a busy future on the Park in 2017 and beyond!

Come and join us on Friday 2nd June at 5pm when we will be installing the plaque at the Information Point. To sign up, please visit: http://volunteers.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/vk/volunteers/my_opportunities_info_ur.htm?PID=10027263
champ-007IiV logo

Commonwealth leaders visit ENGIE Energy Centre in East London

On 10 May 2017 delegates from CSCLeaders including HRH The Princess Royal visited the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where ENGIE provides both district energy and facilities management, to help them answer the challenge set for 2017 “What could be the future of energy in Commonwealth cities?”

CSCLeaders is an annual conference that assembles 100 senior individuals from across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that businesses, governments and society face today and build the global relationships needed by the leaders of tomorrow.

Energy is crucial for achieving almost all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), from its role in the eradication of poverty through advancements in health, education, water supply and industrialisation, to combating climate change. Cities have a vital role to play in achieving SDG7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Cities are the engines of the world economy generating around 80% of global GDP, consuming two thirds of the world’s energy and responsible for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Energy is essential to all city functions and services; it is at the heart of both the challenge and the solution to achieving healthier, more resilient and prosperous cities. As the world urbanises, it is crucial that cities develop innovative approaches to energy supply, delivery and management.

The CSCLeaders spent two days on study tours immersing themselves in London to explore the energy challenge in depth. The purpose of the visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was to provide an opportunity to explore the Energy Centre at Stratford and understand the role that the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and ENGIE are playing in shaping the future of energy and regeneration in London.

ENGIE provides 21 separate services at the Park, supplies heating and cooling through its low carbon energy centres and is the founding partner of the Our Parklife Community Interest Company. The visit included presentations from LLDC and ENGIE, a guided buggy tour of the Park and a walking tour of the King’s Yard Energy Centre.

David Goldstone, Chief Executive, LLDC, led the presentations explaining its role as a regeneration body answerable to Mayor of London with plan-making and development control powers. The LLDC acts a single point of contact for developers, investors, and landowners and is responsible for the transformation, neighbourhoods, and new cultural and education district areas surrounding the Park. David’s presentation illustrated how the regeneration plans for the local area will deliver a wide range of community benefits including new social infrastructure, local employment and skills development, schools and youth engagement, access to sport and physical activity opportunities and volunteering.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of the first of a growing network of smart, sustainable districts across Europe. The Park and its surrounds are designed to promote walking, cycling and other forms of low-carbon transport. The District Energy Network (DEN) is designed to be low carbon to meet zero-carbon targets for homes. The LLDC and ENGIE work closely to ensure that the network is operating efficiently within set carbon parameters and that it is futureproofed (capacity-wise and technology-wise).

Together, ENGIE and the LLDC have saved over 660 tonnes of CO2 per annum through interventions at the London Aquatics Centre and saved more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2016/17 through DEN interventions. Innovation and continuous improvement are a crucial factor in developing the smart city energy approach for the district. Smart homes trials are being undertaken at East Village, the integration of clean mobility solutions including electric vehicle charging and autonomous vehicles are under investigation and LLDC is building 3D maps and virtual reality simulations to help citizens to visualise energy use within the district.

Ben Watts, Managing Director, Urban Energy for ENGIE, provided an insight into ENGIE’s district energy schemes. Globally, ENGIE operates over 230 district energy centres and has 11 in the UK comprising over 50km of heating and cooling networks. ENGIE’s district energy centres provide local, low-carbon energy generation and consumption with electricity generated locally, avoiding transmission power losses, the ‘waste’ heat is used for space heating and hot water.

The district energy scheme at the Park operates as a 40 year concession agreement between ENGIE, Stratford City Developments Ltd and LLDC. There are two energy centres, King’s Yard and Stratford City, and 16 km of buried pre-insulated pipe installed across the site providing heat and chilled water plus fibre network for metering and monitoring. The scheme has resulted in approximately 11,700 tonnes per annum of carbon savings, a 24% reduction over conventional generation, and the provision of energy at a similar price to high carbon systems.


Charlotte Conroy, General Manager for ENGIE, provided an overview of the estates and facilities management (EFM) on the Park. The EFM contract is a 10 year agreement which commenced on 1 April 2014 following two years of mobilisation. ENGIE delivers 21 service streams across the dynamic estate ranging from cleaning, CCTV, horticultural services to waterways management. There are four core pillars to ENGIE’s service to LLDC:

Integrated Energy Solutions: District energy provided via two energy centres for the Park, its Venues, Westfield Stratford and associated residential areas.

Catering concession and visitor attraction: Operating the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK’s largest sculpture and the first attraction on the Park, and the Podium Bar and Kitchen, a visitor café and corporate hospitality venue.

Maintaining the Park and Venues: The Park comprises 45 hectares of habitat and has attained the Green Flag Award. The Venues include the Copper Box Arena, the London’s third largest permanent arena, and the London Aquatics Centre. In 2016, the Park welcomed over 122,000 visitors and ENGIE provided support for over 100 events at the Park and its Venues.

Community Interest Company: Our Parklife was established as a social enterprise to help deliver the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games when the Park reopened to the public in 2014. ENGIE invested over £90,000 as a start-up grant over three years and provides ongoing central admin support including finance, commercial, insurance, legal, IT and HR for the company. In 2016, Our Parklife coordinated and managed more than 850 Park Champions volunteering over 13,700 hours of time to support events, offer customer and mobility services and help with conservation and gardening. Our Parklife was awarded Investing in Volunteers accreditation this month.

Following the presentations, Adele Lefebvre, Volunteer Manager, and one of the Park Champions took the delegation on a buggy ride around the Park. The final part of the tour was a guided walk around the Energy Centre at Kings Yard incorporating the biomass boiler and control centre.

The morning was an energising and engaging insight into the collaborative work that ENGIE and LLDC are undertaking to support the regeneration of East London. Highlights of the CSCLeaders conference can be seen on Twitter @CSCLeaders.

ENGIE launched its UK home energy business this month and recently acquired the regeneration business of Keepmoat, the UK’s leading provider of regeneration services, which will extend ENGIE’s opportunities for engagement with local communities and provide a platform to reduce fuel poverty and improve community energy services.

If you would like to discuss how ENGIE’s combined regeneration, community energy and home energy services can support and improve the lives of citizens in your community, please contact email us at info.communities.uk@engie.com.

Our Parklife shortlisted for the 2017 Responsible Business Awards

We are delighted to announce that Our Parklife has been shortlisted for the UK’s longest running and most prestigious awards programme, championing responsible business in the UK and abroad.

Now in their 20th year, the Awards champion the most inspiring businesses who are making a difference by taking action to build more inclusive workplaces, stronger communities and tackle our biggest environmental challenges.

Our Parklife has been shortlisted for The Experian Award for Building Stronger Communities in recognition of our role as a catalyst for local regeneration in East London; connecting local communities and people to the Park through employment, volunteering, training and service provision.

Commenting Wilfrid Petrie, CEO, ENGIE UK said: “The Our Parklife model of private, SME and third sector partnership was a key pilot project for ENGIE to trial a new way of working that not only brings meaningful benefits to the business but also real social value to the communities in which ENGIE and our customers operate. The success of the initiative has seen us look to replicate the model in a number of communities across the UK as we work towards leaving a lasting positive social and environmental legacy.”

Today’s announcement coincides with Responsible Business Week (24-28 April), an annual initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the positive contribution of businesses to society.

Chief Executive of Business in the Community, Amanda Mackenzie, said: We want all businesses to be a force for good in the community, and being shortlisted means that Our Parklife can inspire many more companies to be part of the responsible business movement, so that together we can work for a fairer society and a more sustainable future.”

The winners of all ten categories will be announced at the Responsible Business Gala Dinner at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 July, in front of 1,200 business leaders. Wish us luck!

To find out more about Responsible Business Week 2017 visit www.bitc.org.uk/rbweek or search for the hashtag #RBweek.

Investing in Volunteers Assessment – thank you!

IiV logo

On behalf of all Our Parklife team, we’d like to tell you a massive thank you to all our volunteers’ support and thank those that were interviewed by the Investing in Volunteers assessor. During this two day assessment, thirty three volunteers were interviewed.

Our assessor was really impressed by all our volunteers, their commitment and the sense of pride and ownership they have for the Park and the programme. We are therefore being recommended to the UK Panel and look forward to hearing the final outcome in May. Fingers Crossed!

West Ham United Supporters Liaison Officers

The West Ham Host Park Champion role was incredibly successful with over 7,700 supporters assisted over the first games of the season. West Ham have now decided to take the team in house and have evolved it into a paid role.
Supporter Liaison Officers (SLOs) will now be present at every game and assist supporters with any issues they may have to ensure all visitors enjoy their visit.

Our Park Champions will be at the forefront of the SLO role, with many benefiting from this opportunity to transition into a paid role.

The Our Parklife team and the Park Champions have helped in this role transition with over 15 Volunteers having gone into the casual role of Supporter Liaison Officers.
Check the article below to learn more about it:

Disabled Access Day – Coming soon!

In March 2016, for the first time, Our Parklife and the Park Champions led  on the delivery of a range of activities as part of Disabled Access Day, a national campaign to raise awareness of access issues faced by people with disabilities.

Following on from this really successful event, we will again be taking part in the national campaign this year from 10th-12th March.

Watch the Harvest Stomp 2016 film now!

Harvest Stomp is ‘Stomping Success’ for Second Year Running

On Sunday 25th September, 3000 Londoners came down to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to celebrate local food growing and produce at The Harvest Stomp 2016, for the second year running.

View our short film about the day.

The much-loved, free community festival marked the end of Urban Food Fortnight 2016, London Food Link’s city-wide celebration of London’s vibrant local food scene.

Highlights included:

  • The internationally acclaimed PIG, by Whalley Range All Stars (WRAS), a truly original installation and show inside a 30-foot long sleeping sow;
  • The Green Man, a lyrical spoken work interactive show for young audiences, which took place at Mobile Garden City;
  • Cirque du Surplus with food waste campaign This-is Rubbish, immersive performances and games on the theme of food waste;
  • Live music and barn dancing with Laurel Swift & the Ceilidh Allstars and Robin Grey & Friends;
  • Workshops and demonstrations from Cordwainers Grow, Hackney Herbal and Kenneth Greenway from Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetary Park;
  • and some of east London’s best local food including grilled cheese sandwiches from The Cheese Truck, handmade gin sorbets from Sloshed, the Jamboree Tasting Table with East End Jam, and the Mason & Company bar, normally based at Here East, who showcased craft beers from Five Points Brewing Company.

The competition for Cream of the Crop – the festival’s local food contest – was tougher than ever, with Lorraine Hourdebaigt winning Best in Show for her raspberry jam; and Harvey, a Jack Russell-Cross from Newham, scooping Best in Class for the ‘Best Dressed Harvest Festival Themed Dog’, dressed as a pea!

The Pea Games was once again a hit with young festival goers – particularly the Human Fruit Machine and Grape Stomping, with grapes kindly donated from Montgomery Wholesale and Abel & Cole.

Groundwork’s Ben Coles, Director Communities & Environmental Services, said: “We’re thrilled to have been able to shine a light on local food production, sustainability, community participation, music and the arts at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park again this year. So great to see so many people enjoying everything Harvest Stomp had to offer and the feedback we’ve received has been amazing. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make The Harvest Stomp 2016 possible, and hope we’ll see you all again next year”.

Paul Brickell, London Legacy Development Corporation, said “Harvest Stomp was a storming success. It was wonderful to see so many local people joining in the celebrations on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We had some fantastic entries into the closely-fought Cream of the Crop contest and it was great to see everyone trying out various activities including barn dancing, Morris dancing, bulb planting and even pea fete games. We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year!

Groundwork London delivered The Harvest Stomp for LLDC, on behalf of Our Parklife CIC. With thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and our kind sponsors.