As 2021 draws to a close, it’s a time for reflection and to review what the year held for local repairs and maintenance company, Unitas Stoke-on-Trent Ltd.
It’s been an exciting year of award nominations, development to their sustainability commitment and staff celebrations.
In the company’s ongoing commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and creating sustainability they have invested in 12 hybrid vehicles. Ten are currently out on the road right now with the final two arriving in the new year.
They have taken their first steps in bringing their gas and electrical servicing programmes in house and the cars are for these teams. Its been great to work with Graphix who designed the new livery wraps using sustainable recycled vinyl adding to the environmentally friendly credentials.
2021 also saw Unitas being finalists in a range of industry awards, with a few award wins too! They began the awards season by picking up a Silver RoSPA in the prestigious and internationally recognised Health & Safety Award.
In the Direct Works Awards, Unitas employee, Ian Mountford, won Inspirational Employee of the year. The company also came 2nd place and awarded a commendation for Team of the Year at the same awards. They also became finalists in three categories in the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards; Best Housing, Regeneration or New Build Initiative, Best Service Team: Housing, Construction and Building Service and Best Public/Private Partnership Working Initiative.
And the finalists didn’t stop there! Business Apprentice, Katie Ford, was highly commended for Learner of the Year in Management & Leadership at the In Comm Awards.
This year Unitas selected their first charity to support and fundraise for.
The chosen charity is Cancer Research UK (Hanley) and Unitas will be supporting the charity until 31st March 2023.
As the whole country was re-emerging from the pandemic, Unitas made a start on their fundraising efforts with the Potters ‘Arf, Christmas Quiz and Christmas Jumper Day.
So far they’ve raised over £1,700 in just three months.
In partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Unitas hosted a visit from members of the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group (APPG) back in September. During the visit, the APPG were shown around Council owned high-rise blocks across the city.
An important focus for the new project is fire safety. The completed apartments display the brand-new sprinkler installation which was shown to the APPG along with a guided tour around the tank room and pumping system.
The All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group (APPG) work to ensure a safer built environment, contributing to fire safety events both inside and outside Parliament, whilst raising issues of concern to government through its ministers.
Wayne Booth, Director of Unitas said “Unitas is very proud to be leading the way in fire safety works across the city’s high & low rise blocks to ensure they are safer places for residents to live. The work has been completed to Unitas’ usual high standards and has received great feedback from our residents.”
This year, two Unitas employees became fully fledged drone pilots. Nicola Saxon & Eddie Chesters passed their GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) practical flight examination and joined Tony Philips as drone pilots for Unitas. As Property Surveyors for Responsive Repairs & Maintenance, the drone helps the pilots to complete surveying works. The drone comes in very useful for roof surveys and where accessibility is an issue or is dangerous – the drone helps remove potential safety risks from completing property surveys. The drone camera can identify heat loss from buildings and also helps detail any structural issues that may otherwise be difficult to spot.
Earlier this year, Kurt Bell, was chosen as Apprentice of The Year by a judging panel of Unitas board members including Unitas Director, Wayne Booth. The panel were impressed by his outstanding knowledge of electrical regulations, his eagerness to understand them, and how to apply them in his practical work.
The award was presented by Lord Mayor Chandra Kanneganti, Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader, Abi Brown and Director, Wayne Booth at a socially distanced ceremony.
Kurt also helped the Unitas team with the development of the vaccine roll-out facility in Tunstall – working extra time on weekends to ensure it could be handed over to the NHS in time.
Throughout this year, Unitas have delivered a total of 12,260 hours of events, activities, demonstrations, and training to support the wellbeing of their workforce. They now have a dedicated Wellbeing Team, 16 Mental Health First Aiders and 3 Domestic Abuse Support Champions, as well as access to free counselling for all employees.
In what has been another challenging year with the continuation of the pandemic, Unitas have achieved so much. A huge well done to all of their workforce for keeping ‘business as usual’.