Bolton Central Library project delivers £500k in social value

With its reopening in January, Bolton Central Library has entered into a new chapter following a £4.4m transformation by Robertson Construction North West on behalf of Clear Futures for Bolton Council, while delivering £500k in social value.

Built in the 1930’s and part of the wider Bolton Museum, Archives and Aquarium, the library underwent a restoration and refurbishment to provide new creative and cultural spaces that modernise and adapt the building to meet changing user requirements and serving the wider needs of the community.

While reading, book borrowing and library fundamentals remain, the new spaces focus on users’ priorities, including digital facilities, education and employment information, business support, cultural and creative activities, and health and wellbeing.

The Grade 2 listed building benefits from the provision of additional mezzanine level floor spaces, a new café, and upgraded children and adult library spaces. The project has created a flexible central library plaza space, providing the opportunity for events such as performances, author visits and storytelling alongside a welcoming space for a variety of local community and wellbeing groups.

Committed to creating a meaningful and lasting legacy through community wealth building, Robertson delivered over half a million pounds of social value. This was achieved through using local supply chain, where possible, employing 17 local people, three trainees and 10 apprentices. Robertson supported the Council’s ‘Building Future Skills in Construction Bolton Programme’ by providing work placements to support participants in getting work-ready. Bolton College and local schools also benefited from career sessions and construction-based educational activities.

As part of a Clear Futures Community Neighbourhood Project, Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene was selected to benefit from a refurbishment to its kitchen and new youth and community spaces, valued at £10k.

The centre provides modern, multi-use and welcoming youth space and an inclusive, safe place for the community to meet. The new kitchen area has enabled the community outreach programme to expand and offers much-needed support to local residents by delivering cookery education classes, raising awareness of healthy eating and food hygiene. It now provides facilities for families to come together to cook healthy meals in a safe place and signposts people towards college food training courses. 

Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director, Robertson Construction North West, said: “Bolton Central Library’s transformation is greatly enriching users’ experience since its official opening. The high-quality cutting-edge spaces foster creativity, learning and community engagement.

“The library plays such an important role for the community and is a treasured part of Bolton’s history and heritage. Which is why throughout the project we remained respectful of the building’s unique character, making sure that authentic, architectural features remained.

“The transformation delivered by this project goes beyond the building and was far reaching into the local community.”

Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Deputy Leader, Bolton Council, said:“Regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar, it is about improving the lives of our residents by offering better services, experiences, and opportunities.

“The newly renovated Bolton Library is a perfect example of this, creating a modern, versatile, and welcoming space that offers something for all ages.

“Alongside the many benefits of the physical refurbishment, Robertson and Clear Futures have worked with us to support the wider community, create new jobs and boost skills.”

Funded by the Towns Fund scheme led by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, Bolton Central Library is one of many projects being delivered for Bolton Council through a strategic partnership with Clear Futures, a long-term procurement and management vehicle for the UK public sector.

Keith Edwards, Bolton Partnership Director, Clear Futures, commented: “Delivering sustainable solutions to the built environment with expertise, efficiency and value, Clear Futures is proud to support the public sector in strengthening communities. “Bolton Council is a valued strategic partner with a desire to drive economic and social growth, while providing quality services and facilities for the community it serves, which are epitomised by the magnificent Bolton Central Library project.”

Meet the buyer – Bolton – 15 Feb 2024

Join Clear Futures, Business Bolton and our Tier 1 Supply Chain partners Seddon and F Parkinson for networking, food and drinks. Meet our current suppliers and find out how we can work together on some exciting future projects.

Thursday 15th Feb 2024
Lancaster Suite
Albert Hall
Bolton BL1 1RU
10am – 1pm

Partner organisations Constructionline, Business Growth Hub, the Chamber of Commerce and CITB
will be on hand to provide sector / business-related support.

To see the event privacy policy and how Business Bolton handles your sign-up data please refer to the Event Privacy Policy.

A Community Neighbourhood Project to benefit the residents of Bolton

Clear Futures and our supply chain partners follow a collaborative approach to delivering projects and look for ways to maximise outcomes for local communities and residents by delivering impactful social value. Clear Futures and supply chain partner Robertson Construction are working on several regeneration projects on behalf of Bolton Council, including the Library and Wellsprings projects funded by the Towns Fund scheme led by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing.

As part of the commitment to leaving additional legacy in the communities where we work, we agreed to deliver a transformational Community Neighbourhood project. 

Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Akhtar Zaman, said:

“Clear Futures and Robertson Construction are key council partners helping us to deliver a number of projects that will transform our town centre and improve the lives of our residents. The outstanding work they have done at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene shows a wider commitment to supporting the local community and creating a lasting legacy. Alongside this, the Building Future Skills In Construction Programme is providing local people with valuable workplace experience.”

Dirk Pittaway, Regional Managing Director, Robertson Construction North West said:

“At Robertson, we are committed to adding value for our customers by delivering social value, which really makes a difference in the communities where we operate.  

“The Community Neighbourhood project enabled us to work with our supply chain partners, getting support from trades and excess materials from one of our live projects to support Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene to improve the service they offer the local community. 

It’s important to us and our customers that the social value we deliver is meaningful. With Bolton Council undertaking several regeneration projects to benefit the wider community, we have been working closely to support its ‘Building Future Skills In Construction Bolton Programme’. As part of the programme, we provide two-week work placements on our sites that  support and train people to get work-ready. Completing the programme gives participants references along with their work experience and skills that will help them into employment.”

The Community Neighbourhood Project got underway in Autumn 2022, when the team met with different community and voluntary organisations in Bolton to identify a suitable project where a ‘DIY SOS’ style project, worth around £10k, could be delivered to improve spaces where local residents meet, socialise and receive support. 

A small application process was held with the help of Bolton CVS to review the deliverability of the projects. Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene was selected as the ‘Community Neighbourhood Project’ due to the wide-reaching impact the transformed spaces will have on residents. Two other projects stood out and as a result, Bolton Deaf Society and Hall i’ th’ Wood Community Garden were each awarded £500 to support their projects. 

A renovation to help people in need

Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene needed new spaces to continue and expand its community outreach. We completed a refurbishment that provides a fresh, more welcoming youth space and an inclusive, safe place for the community to meet. The new kitchen means the community group can offer much-needed support to local residents and can now give cookery education classes, raising awareness of healthy eating and fresh ingredients to make the most of food hampers. The church has wider ambitions to roll out training courses in food hygiene and Clear Futures and Robertson Construction have supported them with introductions to Bolton College so they can refer individuals for additional training and qualifications. 

Beth Ford, Pastor at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene, said:

“Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene is located in the centre of a housing estate in Bolton, which reflects a hugely diverse community of people. During the last year, we have been deeply saddened to recognise the increasing needs of people in our community, mainly as a result of increasing costs of living. We began to work closely with several partners in Bolton, including the Council, Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, Bolton at Home and Urban Outreach. Collectively, we continue to make every effort to reach those people most in need, and in doing so, we also attempt to bring our community closer together. We recognise that we are better together!”

The renovations of our kitchen and youth space have been an absolute blessing – not just to us, but to those people in our community that we already serve and to those we hope to meet in the coming months.

– Beth Ford, District Youth Pastor for the Church of the Nazarene, British Isles South District and Pastor at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene

“We have so many plans to utilise our newly refurbished spaces, including running basic cookery classes, offering our space for 1-2-1 counselling and support, providing a safe, interactive space for our local youth, and bringing more partners together to make Bolton a great place to live. 

We are more than delighted with the renovations and cannot thank Clear Futures and Robertson Construction enough for this wonderful opportunity to do so much more in our community. In early September, we will celebrate the first birthday of our community café, Roots in Fresh Ground, which opened at the end of August 2022. The new kitchen ensures we can not only continue with this amazing café, through which we are meeting with so many people in our community, but hopefully, we can also celebrate so much more in the coming months and years ahead.”

The youth space is now a cleaner and more modern area designed to help keep local young people off the streets through group activities and as a hub to host clubs for the young people. The Community Neighbourhood Project has upgraded the lighting, redecorated the space and installed a TV screen, making the space more comfortable and inviting. A priority is to increase the number of young people accessing the building and offer a safe and inclusive environment with a true community feeling.

Project details

  • 116 hours of volunteering over a 5-day period.
  • Brand new kitchen installed, funded by donations-in-kind from Robertson Construction North West and its supply chain.
  • Subcontractor Reds Joinery volunteered to remove existing kitchen and install the new units.
  • Subcontractor Ameon carried out electrical testing and installed new energy and cost-efficient LED bulbs. 
  • Removing older storage units and a brand new TV and installation in the youth space funded by Robertson Construction North West.
  • Painting and decorating of the youth space, including cleaning, and replacing carpet tiles, funded by Clear Futures.
  • Movable stainless steel kitchen island for interactive workshops, funded by Clear Futures.
Clear Futures Community Neighbourhood Project

Supporting Bolton families at Christmas

Clear Futures, along with Seddon, has given a helping hand to Bolton charity Urban Outreach, to deliver Christmas hampers that will feed more than 1,500 families.

Contractors Robertson Group, Eric Wright Group and Willmott Dixon in Bolton also turned up to offer their services.

Families are nominated for the hampers by someone such as a support working with them and the group then work to get them a hamper on two distribution days, including December 23, where a fresh option is included.

The fresh option is for families to enjoy Christmas day with fresh meat and fruit included along with chicken and sausages with halal options also available. The non fresh options included schloer, custard, gravy, chocolate mints, cranberry sauce, crisps and savoury crackers as well as pulling crackers for families to have fun.

Laura Bagley from Christmas Dinner On Jesus said: “We hope that it is something more than just food.

“Hopefully it will take out some of the worry and some of the stress of Christmas.

“I think what we hope most of all is that it has a much bigger impact such as the joy that comes from it and for people to know they can get help.

“We’ve worked on 600 in one day and it’s just over a third of what we need in total.

“We hope that it makes people feel less lonely and they realise that they are thought about and cared for.”

This is the eleventh year of Christmas Dinner With Jesus.

Laura said she had noticed more people needing help this year than other years as families were embarassed to ask for help if they had not been in a situation to need it.

She said: “Everybody is usually nominated as they don’t like to ask for help themselves and we are seeing in the current crisis that more people are needing this and we want to help take the worry away.

“We’re happy to do this and we want people to enjoy Christmas.”

Between April and September in 2021, 724 food parcels went out to children in Bolton, a 61 per cent rise from the year before.

With this figure set to rise yet again this year, the support Urban Outreach provides is becoming increasingly vital for many in the community.

This is a great charitable initiative from Seddon and Clear Futures. It was wonderful to see these two companies acting for the good of the community, especially at Christmas time.

Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Akhtar Zaman

Urban Outreach provides food for disadvantaged adults and young people in Bolton as well as support.

Nicola Hodkinson, owner and director of Seddon, said: “Community forms a key pillar of our values at Seddon. We have been based in and worked across the Bolton area for 125 years, making events like this one very close to our hearts. With families facing a cost-of-living crisis this year, the work that Urban Outreach is doing is invaluable to the community.”

Now more than ever it is so important to Clear Futures that we drive forward economic recovery and growth in our communities through the infrastructure projects and services we deliver.

Keith Edwards, Clear Futures Partnerships Director
Volunteers pack food hampers

Collaborative partnership generating social value in Bolton

The new Jubilee Centre is being delivered in Bolton through a partnership between Clear Futures, Bolton Cares Ltd and Bolton Council. It will give much-needed support and opportunities for adults with learning disabilities in the town.

Watch to learn more about this facility, as well as how the Clear Futures partnership is delivering wider improvements across Bolton with local social value an integral part of every project.

Investing locally in Bolton

Published 29 July 2022

Through our strategic partnership with Bolton Borough Council, Clear Futures has been investing in Bolton’s local economy, communities and journey to net zero since 2019.

We work hand-in-hand with the council and key local stakeholder groups to understand local needs and address challenges through a planned pipeline of activity. A key priority is keeping the Bolton pound local, investing in local businesses and driving inclusive growth.

Planning and delivering on social value

Each project and service delivered through Clear Futures has a Social Value Impact Plan, reported through the National TOMs framework portal to demonstrate the added value achieved and ensure we deliver on our commitments.

How this works on the ground

An estates and facilities management contract delivered through Clear Futures by our Tier 1 supply chain partner Robertson Facilities Management (RFM) spent £9m+ with the local supply chain between May 2019 to October 2022. RFM has also expanded its team by hiring locally, and continually supports local engagement through events such as Meet the Buyer, hosted by Clear Futures to promote networking and engagement between local SMEs and our Tier 1s.

spend with local supply chain May 19-Oct 2022
locals employed

“When I met with the Workshop Team at Bolton Council I’d been unemployed for over a year – the team helps people overcome barriers to work by providing work experience placements. They arranged an interview with Clear Futures in Bolton who offered me a work placement with the Robertson Facilities Management team. This gave me fantastic insight into FM and its operations. As the placement came to its end Clear Futures told me that RFM wanted to offer me a role on their Estates Team which I happily accepted. I keep in touch with Clear Futures and help them out whenever they put on events to help local companies or support local people like me. Joining Robertson FM has made a real impact on my personal life and professional development.” Kashif Faruqui, Information Technician Robertson FM since 2019

Each month we bring together a Social Value Working Group Forum with all Tier 1s and local stakeholders including the DWP, Jobs Centre+, Bolton CVS, Bolton at Home and Bolton University to identify mutual opportunities to deliver more quality social value locally.

We use this time to discuss upcoming opportunities on our Clear Futures Bolton delivery programme – such as employment opportunities on projects coming to site, local education engagement opportunities, materials and resources becoming available for reuse – and how we can best match the opportunity to an individual or group.

Supporting local SMEs

Our pre-procured T1 contractors include Wilmott Dixon, BAM, Seddon Construction, Eric Wright Construction and Robertson. Each partner understands the importance of delivering social value that will make a meaningful difference in Bolton.

How this works on the ground

  • Our ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Bolton Town Hall provided a fantastic opportunity for over 70 local businesses to connect and discuss upcoming work opportunities with our T1s and find out how our local partners – Bolton Business Connect, GM Chamber of Commerce and GM Growth Hub – could support them. Local Bolton businesses were joined by SMEs from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.
  • Multiple attendees were invited to tender for work released by Robertson Facilities Management, and our supply chain database is helping local businesses secure work.
local businesses at ‘Meet the Buyer’
with a Bolton postcode

 “The event at Bolton Town Hall was an amazing opportunity for businesses in Bolton to engage with Clear Futures, working alongside Bolton Business Connect’s online platform to support and develop strong business partnerships, which will help boost our local economy and make it easier to do business in Bolton. It’s a great initiative”. Councillor Adele Warren, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development

Learning for development

If we’re to stimulate the local economy and social development then we need to help SMEs reach their full potential so they can successfully secure more work and support local employment. Working with our local and supply chain partners we’re delivering programmes of learning to support work winning and responsible business practices.

How this works on the ground

Over a week-long series of virtual workshops, Clear Futures held a SME development programme in collaboration with T1 partners. The aim was to help local organisations access opportunities they’d learned about at the Meet the Buyer so they can grow and develop their businesses.

  • Work winning: Seddon Construction explained the bid process, how to write a successful bid and identify better quality work opportunities.
  • Decarbonisation: Eric Wright debunked decarbonisation jargon and showed how to initiate ‘small win’ measures to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Health, safety and wellbeing: Robertson Construction gave SMEs advice on getting their workforce home safe and promoting employee health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Social value: Clear Futures discussed the types of social value that benefit the local community, economy and environment, how to benchmark social value delivery and generating local opportunities.
SMEs attended workshops

Two follow-on projects are being held in summer 2022: 

  • Seddon are delivering an in-person workshop, ‘Supply Chain and PAS91 – The Expert Guide’ in August that will deep dive into a supply chain PQQ. 
  • Robertson will deliver a virtual workshop walking through real examples of bids to discuss ‘what good looks like’. 

All upcoming work opportunities are advertised on Bolton Business Connect and Clear Futures LinkedIn.

Clear Futures helps NETPark achieve planning for Phase 3 of development

Detailed planning has been granted for the third phase of development at NETPark (the North East Technology Park) following assistance provided to Durham County Council and Business Durham by Clear Futures. Clear Futures has been working with the NETPark team since April 2021 providing strategic support services.

The Sedgefield-based project is set create up to 1,250 highly-skilled STEM jobs and support 2,200 more through the local supply chain for businesses based in the technology park. It is anticipated that NETPark will contribute over £625m to the County Durham economy.

Clear Futures worked in partnership with the Council to help secure the required funding for the project, which will deliver more than 18,600 sqm of additional space to accommodate growing demand from the thriving businesses located at NETPark and potential new start-ups.

Clear Futures will continue to work with Business Durham and the council to progress the project through the next phases of development and project delivery.

Image by Ryder Architecture

New £50 million NETPark extension gets the green light

Plans to expand the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham – which could create more than 1,200 jobs – have been backed with a £49.6m investment from Durham County Council.

One of the UK’s top science parks, NETPark provides a dynamic and supportive environment to accelerate the growth of innovative hi-tech companies into global markets. The new 26-acre site is geared at existing tenants and inward investors ready to relocate to grow, scale-up and commercialise their operations. Clear Futures has been working with Business Durham, the business support service of Durham Council, to develop this next phase of buildings and landscaping with a key focus on wellbeing and sustainable living.

Home to over 40 companies and 600 people, existing facilities at NETPark include world-class laboratory, clean room and office space. The Phase 3 development will create flexible units and bespoke space up to 80,000 sq ft to support business growth.

NETPark building illustration
Image by Ryder Architecture

Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet Member for resources, investment and assets at Durham County Council, said: “It’s exciting to see NETPark’s Phase Three expansion going ahead. This investment reaffirms the Council’s original vision for NETPark and our commitment to the ongoing creation of a world-class centre for businesses developing the next generation of advanced technologies.

The plans to expand NETPark demonstrate the importance of NETPark to the region’s economy, not only is it the go to place for people and companies with great ideas and ambition, but it plays a key role in creating more and better jobs for our workforce. The expansion will create 1,250 direct jobs and a further 2,200 in the supply chain in thriving industries which will help deliver a strong and competitive economy.

I’ve had a chance to look at the ideas for the Phase Three development and the design and type of buildings will be a massively exciting enhancement to the park, providing accommodation that I believe will be hugely attractive to companies.”

The location is a key attraction – just 20 minutes from Durham and within easy distance to major transport, NETPark enjoys a countryside location.

Richard Airey, Director of Clear Futures, commented, “It’s set in a really lovely environment, something businesses feel is as important as its great connectivity. We aim to keep the rural feel of the site, which offers access to lots of great outdoor activities such as walking and cycling along existing networks – these are a real benefit to the people working here.”