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  • BLOG: Women in Construction

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  • Starley Sportive backed by Mayor of the West Midlands

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  • BLOG: Increasing our affordable homes market share

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  • The Starley Sportive set to break fundraising record

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  • BLOG: Market trends in affordable homes provision

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  • Herbert Art Gallery & Museum opens after refurbishment

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  • Martin Gallagher

    Blog: Versatility in securing contracts across a range of sectors

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  • Work starts on The Willows in Asfordby

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BLOG: Women in Construction

Over 30 years ago, our Senior Quantity Surveyor Alison DuBock began a career in construction as a trainee, fresh out of uni. At first, Alison thought an industry ‘dominated by men’ would be a challenge, but it is a career path pursued nonetheless, even with her brother telling her that it is no career for a female. This was the eighties, after all, and construction has always changed with the times.

When thinking of a man’s industry, construction might be your first guess. The industry reputation has preceded it in various media tropes on our screens for decades, including in the Tom Hardy film Locke, and as Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor in sitcom Home Improvement, which both present construction sites as male spaces heavily featuring common male stereotypes, with no girls to be seen.

If we are to mention stereotypes though, front-line work on building sites may not be seen as the most glamourous place for the more feminine lady, and besides the discussion of possibly introducing a hot pink high-vis jacket, stereotypes will be left out of this blog.

In 2021, women are as much a part of construction as men. At Deeley Group, we have female designers (architectural and structural), quantity surveyors, buyers, site managers, site engineers, and trainees, to name but a few. Although the gender gap regarding on-site trades has shortened in recent years, it is closing nonetheless; there is no reason a woman can’t be a bricklayer! is what Alison should’ve told her brother back in the day.

To combat pre-conceptions of women in construction, we have been holding talks in schools and FE colleges about the topic, exploring how enjoying making things in GCSE Technology classes is enough experience to start taking steps towards one day being a part of the construction of a skyscraper, and that girls should not be scared or intimidated by what’s believed to be the ‘male culture’ on sites, as there are now vast amounts of rules and regulations to enforce respect for everyone.

Construction is grassroot, by explaining that we are not a ‘dirty industry’ as blockbuster films would like to refer to us as, and showing that it can be attractive, we at Deeley are trying to improve notions in future generations. Alison has been inspiring young girls to pursue a career in our industry for some time now, giving lectures to school-aged kids, promoting traineeships to soon-to-be school leavers and telling them facts such as how construction changes everyday, that no matter which role you acquire no two days are the same and that pride is a large factor in our line of work; when you see a development you had a hand in coming together is what makes her feel immensely proud, and then being able to drive by a development years later and saying ‘that there is my building’ is the cherry on top.

Of course, I had to ask if she had a specific building in mind when referring to this, and she mentions the first building she worked on, the old AXA Assurance tower in Coventry city centre, a centrepiece for the town in which she put together the golden carpet walling wrapped around it (a first for the city), which is still in use today, over 3 decades later, as student accommodation.

Alison’s advice for girls considering possibly getting into the industry: confidence is key, give as good as you get, but on a respectful level. It is an endearing industry, as all you’ll mainly need to join is maths and English skills, but the most important skill you can have is common sense. Hollywood should make a film about that.

Starley Sportive backed by Mayor of the West Midlands

A Coventry and Warwickshire charity sportive is set to give a boost to a regional cycling network with which it shares the same name.

The Starley Sportive, which will be held on Sunday, September 19, has been backed by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street – the man behind the Starley Network, a 500-mile cycling network for the region.

Andy Street joined representatives from organisers the Deeley Group and Coventry Road Club ahead of this year’s event.

Both the sportive and the cycling network are named in honour of the Starley family.

James Starley is known as the father of the bicycle industry, while John Kemp Starley widely considered the inventor of the modern bicycle. Both worked and lived in Coventry.

Organisers of the Starley Sportive are committed to encouraging more people to get on their bikes and take advantage of the Starley Network, which has seen cycle routes and cycle lanes pop up across the West Midlands.

They are also hoping to have a rider take on the route on a West Midlands Cycle Hire bicycle on September 19.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We launched the Starley Network in August 2020 and cycling has a vital role in the future of our transport plans not only in Coventry but across the West Midlands.

“Alongside the creation of nearly 500 miles worth of routes, our ambitious cycling plans rest on encouraging more people to get out on two wheels and experience our region.

“Charity cycling events, such as the Starley Sportive here in Coventry, are essential to drive more people to embrace the cycling revolution.”

The Starley Sportive will set off from Deeley Group head office on Herald Avenue and riders will be raising money for The Myton Hospices, Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Charity.

John Eburne, president of Coventry Road Club, said: “Cycling is fantastic for physical and mental wellbeing and we applaud Andy Street’s impact in making it easier for people across our city to take up cycling.

“While our event is focused on raising funds for our chosen charities, we do also place great importance on encouraging more people into the sport as part of our Coventry Road Club activities.”

Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director of the Deeley Group, added: “As a company we are committed to promoting healthier lifestyles for our staff and within the communities in which we work.

“We would like to thank Andy Street for coming down to learn more about the event and we look forward to continuing to work with him and Coventry Road Club to shout about the benefits of cycling across the region.”

To find out more about the Starley Sportive visit www.starleysportive.co.uk/

PICTURE CAPTION: John Eburne, Eleanor Deeley and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

BLOG: Increasing our affordable homes market share

The Deeley Group is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Like most companies with a long history, the nature of what we do and the spheres in which we operate have altered over the years as we have used our areas of expertise to adapt to market conditions.

Any anniversary is a chance to look back and look forward, and we believe we are in for a very exciting future. A significant part of that future will be us increasing the level of affordable housing we both develop and construct for clients.

We believe we are very well placed – for a number of reasons – to increase our market share in what we feel will continue to be a growth market.

We have a long and successful track record in working in partnership with many of the leading affordable homes providers and we have a very strong relationship with them. Homes England has increased its funding and there is greater Government emphasis on delivering housing and ensuring there is sufficient affordable housing.

Therefore, there is a need to deliver more stock and this has meant there is more demand from registered providers and a growth in the rental sector, and we are in a very good position to help deliver against that demand.

It is easy to set ambitions and establish targets, but they have to be deliverable and realistic and we feel we are perfectly placed to grow our affordable homes division.

Firstly, our reputation and relationships in that market are very strong. Our longevity, financial performance and ability to delivery for clients is very well established.

These projects are often long term so is it is vital for providers to be partnered with companies that have a proven track record. The growth in the sector is, inevitably, going to attract people who are, frankly, after a quick buck.

Secondly, providers want to partner with organisations with similar values and outlooks and we are very much a community-focussed company with strong links wherever we operate.

Thirdly, because we have such a strong construction arm it allows us to engineer developments from the outset, meaning there is more value to be gained by working with partners on sites that do not have an existing consent.

Everything starts with land. Everyone talks about construction, modular or traditional building, labour supply – but actually the key ingredient is land. As Mark Twain said “buy land, they’re not making it anymore”.

To that end, we have recruited David Currie, a highly experienced and respected operator in the sector, as a director of the Deeley Group.

David has an excellent track record and he actually used to be my client when I was at CBRE, so we go back a decade, and have a very similar approach.

We do have land but often it has been connected with other developments and will allow for up to around 20 homes on each site, and we need to be working on sites which can take between 30 and 60 homes to help partners make a real impact against their targets.

We are confident that our business plan will see us moving to a stage where affordable homes will account for around 30 per cent of Deeley Group business, while we continue to grow the other areas of the company.

That is clearly a significant growth and, while we will be spelling out our full plans next month, we are investing in the sector and in the people to deliver against this ambition, and that will see us growing staff numbers by between 10 and 15 per cent.

As I said, the anniversary is a celebration of the history and growth of the Deeley Group, but our focus is very much on the future – and it is a very exciting future.

Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director

The Starley Sportive set to break fundraising record

A major Coventry and Warwickshire cycling event is on track to break its fundraising record as last year’s main charity reveals the incredible impact the event has had.

The Starley Sportive raised more than £10,000 last year, despite the event taking place virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. Organisers are hoping for a huge turnout this year and are expecting to raise even more money with more than 300 participants already signed up.

The Myton Hospices will be one of three main beneficiaries for this year’s event, which takes place on Sunday, September 19, alongside Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Charity. Participants are also encouraged to raise funds for important personal causes.

Ruth Tandy, Challenge and Events Fundraising Coordinator for The Myton Hospices, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Starley Sportive. It is a family-friendly local event which brings together cyclists, local artists and charities all in aid of good causes in the community.

“Our community is at the heart of everything that we do and we want to reach out to as many people as possible to let them know about our services, should they need them now or in the future.

“We have a team of 21 riders taking part and we are hoping to raise in excess of £2000. This could fund a patient specific recliner chair to enable patients to spend time out of bed with their loved ones.

“We will be there on the day to cheer our riders on and will have a stand where people can find out more about our vital work. We are really looking forward to it!”

Bethany Richardson, Community and Events Fundraiser for Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice, added: “Last year Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice were incredibly grateful to receive over £5,800 from the Starley Sportive.

“The fantastic amount raised last year and in previous years has allowed us to continue to stay open during our most testing 12 months yet, providing care and support to babies and infants with life threatening and life limiting illnesses and their families.

“The Starley Sportive is a brilliant event and we are extremely thankful for their ongoing support. Year after year they have gone above and beyond and it is so very much appreciated.

“If you would like to take part for Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice this year, please do contact us via challenge@zoes-place.org.uk – we would be delighted to hear from you!”

Riders will set off from the Deeley Group head office on Herald Avenue, Coventry, and have the choice of challenging three distances – a 28.6 mile route, a 63.2 mile long-distance ride, or the mammoth 86.5 mile challenge.

Ian Court, Racing Secretary at Coventry Road Club, said: “The Starley Sportive has proved over the last few years that there is plenty of excitement around cycling in Coventry and Warwickshire, and a massive part of that is the incredible fundraising that we have been able to achieve.

“There are three routes once again this year to suit a range of abilities, and we would love to see as many riders as possible saddling up for one of our fantastic main charities or for a cause close to their heart.

“The virtual ride that we hosted last year was a huge success, and we are grateful to all who participated, but there is nothing like being out on the road with likeminded people. I’m sure it will be a memorable day, and would be even better if we can break our fundraising record.”

Edward Hudson, Business Development Manager at the Deeley Group, said: “With last year’s event being cancelled, it would be great to see people making the most this opportunity to do some real good for the amazing charities in our local area.

“More than an act of kindness, we expect the day to be enjoyable for all. After a difficult 12 months it’s a great opportunity to socialise and get active and we’re hoping for another huge turnout.”

PICTURE CAPTION:  From left to right – Natalie Humphrey (The Myton Hospices), Ian Court (Starley Sportive), Jo O’Sullivan (Charity director, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Charity), Edward Hudson (Deeley Group) and Bethany Richardson (Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice).

Blog: Versatility in securing contracts across a range of sectors

Martin Gallagher, managing director of Deeley Construction, discusses the firm’s success in winning work across healthcare, retail and education in recent months.

The Deeley Group has a long history of delivering high-quality developments across a range of sectors – and we have continued that pattern with a strong start to 2021.

The foundation for these developments can be found in partnerships, something we pride ourselves on at Deeley Group and that continue to be fruitful in providing a stream of varied projects.

Retail

We have a trio of projects underway in the retail sector, including two developments in Birmingham.

The new store in Hamstead, Birmingham, is the latest contract we have been awarded under the Lidl contractor framework

We have also built trusted partnerships with organisations such as Ziran Land to deliver a new Costa Coffee drive-thru in Wolverhampton and with LondonMetric to build a new Sofology store in Birmingham.

The benefits of partnerships and building relationships are clear and we have recently embarked on our third development for major supermarket chain Lidl.

 

Healthcare

It’s important to us that projects we carry out have a enhancing impact on the communities we are working within, and our work in healthcare and education is the perfect platform for this.

Earlier this month we saw work start on a £11.3 million Extra Care Living development in Didcot for Housing 21 – another prime example of partnership working to full effect, as we are now onto our second project with Housing21.

We understand the specific requirements of the operators and their residents, delivering schemes that create lasting value for all stakeholders. As a family business, people and the community are at the heart of everything we do.

 

Education and Public Sector

Then, in our home city of Coventry, we have started work on transforming a school in the east of the city. We have worked closely with Coventry City Council to deliver this project in time for the new school term.

As well as the development providing clear benefits to the community through new education provision, we have also ensured that local subcontractors are used on the development and all of the on-site subcontractors are based within 30 miles of the site.

We have also worked with Coventry University to enhance research and development capabilities at five of its facilities at the Coventry University Technology Park – which will of course have a positive knock-on effect on the economy in the city and wider region.

 

Summary

Our history as a contractor and a developer shows our ability to assist clients early on with brief and planning. This allows us to build strong relationships from the start of projects and can result in repeat business for the future. Currently 85% of our work has been secured through negotiation or with existing clients.

Collaboration is key and we’re proud that our staff reflect that ethos in their day-to-day work. The work of our design and build team in engaging with clients on a project from the planning stage and communicating information effectively is a great example of that.

Our ability to work across a broad range of sectors has served us well during the pandemic.

In a tough market, we haven’t been a firm that has chased turnover or cut any corners. We have ensured a high standard of development that meets our client’s needs, whatever the sector.

Again, that is an ethos which has served us well for 85 years and will continue to do so long into the future

 

 

 

Work starts on The Willows in Asfordby

Construction work has started on a new housing development which will see 55 new homes available to the community in Asfordby in 2022.

‘The Willows’ development, which is three miles from Melton Mowbray, is a partnership between Midlands-based developer Deeley Homes (part of the Deeley Group) and social housing and care organisation emh group.

It is the first time the two organisations have worked together on a development, which will provide a mix of social rented, shared ownership and market sale homes.

The scheme will see more than two thirds of the houses delivered as affordable homes, contributing to targets in the East Midlands, while supporting the demand for homes of this type in Asfordby and surrounding communities.

Deeley Homes partnered with emh group to purchase the site and detailed planning permission was granted for the development in June 2020.

Fifteen of the homes will be sold privately under the Deeley Homes banner, emh group is also developing its first market sale units here as well as shared ownership and rented accommodation to meet demand on the housing register.

The developers have committed to making a range of improvements in the area near the development to make the area safer and enhance infrastructure for the community.

This includes improving highway safety outside the nearby primary school, upgrading local bus stops, providing bus passes and travel packs to new residents and also contributing to libraries and secondary education provision in the area.

Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “This development is crucial in providing vital affordable housing to people in and around Asfordby, and we’re pleased to announce work is now underway on site.

“This is a development that is designed to respond to the requirements of people who live in the area and we are pleased to have partnered with emh group to ensure that this is the case.

“It is the first time we have worked alongside emh group on a project and we hope this will be the start of a fruitful partnership.

“In addition to the affordable homes delivery we will be bringing a collection of new Deeley Homes properties to the market and there is expected to be high-demand for these properties in the region.

“The development is perfectly positioned with excellent school options for residents and good transport links to major nearby towns.

“As part of the scheme we are making a range of local infrastructure improvements too and we believe the development will be of great benefit to the community of Asfordby.”

Chris Jones, Executive Director of Development at emh group, said: “As a strategic partner of Homes England, the government homebuilding agency, we aim to deliver 600 new affordable homes across the East Midlands every year.

“We are delighted that our first project with Deeley Homes, and first market sale homes, has started on site, and through this strong partnership we are contributing to meeting the housing needs and aspirations of people in the Melton Borough Council area with new homes for shared ownership and affordable rent.”

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