Sheerness Port Community Facility wins award

Receiving the final and top award of this year’s conference was Tony Baxter, a process development manager (London Medway) for his superb work on the welfare facilities project at Sheerness, part of the London Medway cluster.

The project was awarded the Chief Executive’s Shield in recognition for its work to improve employee wellbeing and foster a sense of community.

Tony explains: “We decided to turn a former quayside office complex into our new community hub for staff. What we needed was something representative of the service we provide here at the Port – something modern, branded and useful. I initially sketched out my ideas, before turning them into 3D models that could be analysed at different angles – presenting the ideas to the wider team at a town hall meeting held for employees.

“Where previously we’d just had benches, the new facility provides restrooms, showers, a drying room, a canteen, seating areas, TVs, tea and coffee, computer terminals in a separate room, and lockers.”

The fantastic project went beyond just renovation, bringing together employees from every area of the business and calling upon many different talents to create what will be a hub for what Tony calls the Port Community Facility – emphasising the fact that Sheerness is open to all those that call the port a ‘home away from home’ while at work.

Tony took on the role of leading the project. Here he shares some background on how it all came together.

“I started at Peel Ports 15 years ago, first as a port operative loading lorries and then warehouse work – both of which involved manual labour, so I know how tough these jobs can be.

“It’s definitely handy to have been on both sides of the business, both out on site at the port and in the office, which I definitely factored into the designs when planning the new space for staff. I wanted it to be a place where everyone could come together.

“I was initially approached by Richard Goffin and Terry Palmer to join ‘Project Engage’ – the group-wide project designed to improve employee experience. Listening to feedback from people across the business, there was a real desire to upgrade the facilities for employees. At Sheerness, facilities were dated and in need of an upgrade, so it became our first project.

Working with Julia Bradley, who is leading “Project Engage”, this transformational project became our top priority in terms of engagement with our staff.

“The beauty of the project was that everyone got involved. The whole project was completed internally – bar the flooring. From furniture and maintenance to procurement and management. It was a labour of love. Everyone was overwhelmed by the final result – which took just under two months to turn around.

“We’re over the moon to win the conference’s top award. The team all came together and achieved something important, something that was the right thing to do and will improve employee morale for years to come.”

Following the success of the Sheerness welfare project, further facilities upgrades are being planned across the Peel Ports network, using the Sheerness project as a beacon of best practice. 

For more information on the Port of Sheerness please click HERE.

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