A growing facilities management company has received national recognition for its work to support Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) in maintaining its vast and varied estate.

The trust enlisted the support of Sewell Facilities Management (Sewell FM) at short notice in March 2019, as it wanted to outsource its facilities management work following changes within its internal team.

Within two weeks, Sewell FM had created a dedicated team to manage the trust’s 105 buildings across 6,000 square miles of Yorkshire, including employing two new members of staff to bolster the approach and ensure every requirement could be met.

Now, the team has been chosen over three other shortlisted finalists to win the Team of the Year (private sector) award in the national Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) Impact Awards 2020.

Previously held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, the awards took place online for the first time due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is the industry’s most prestigious event, recognising and celebrating best practice demonstrated by teams and individuals across the facilities management sector.

Ravi Bhatnagar, lead judge of the category, said: “The Sewell FM team clearly had success in solving YAS’ property issues. The people-focused company culture, clear communication, strong leadership and focus on aligning client and provider values was evident through the entire submission and presentation.

“The outcomes were tangible, measurable, and complemented by a number of powerful statements from YAS.

“It was heartening to see how consideration of common values/behaviours can strengthen the outcome.

“Strong and effective leadership was very apparent and delivered in such a way that, whilst Facilities Manager Tom was ‘the glue’, it was clear that without him the team would not have fallen apart.

“It was Sewell’s long-term investment in its people which enabled it to be able to rise to – and exceed – the expectations of YAS.”

The work included setting up a planned maintenance regime for every YAS site and visiting each one regularly to ensure the buildings remained safe and legal.

The team also found a solution for more reliable YAS vehicle charging points, which was rolled out across the estate, and brought in contractors to tackle ground maintenance challenges.

The Team of the Year accolade was one of 11 awards announced in the online ceremony on October 12. Chosen by public vote, an additional four winners were announced in a dedicated ‘Covid Response’ category.

Martin Stead, Managing Director of Sewell FM, said: “This award recognises the work of the 11-strong team we created to manage the partnership with YAS, as well as the wider Sewell FM team as they concentrated on ensuring a seamless service was maintained in other areas of the business.

“Receiving this award on the ‘virtual’ national stage is really good for the team. We proved that a relatively small but growing FM contractor can deliver something on this scale over this geography, with all areas of Yorkshire covered.

“Rather than watching the online awards individually, we shared it on Microsoft Teams, so we could react to it together to enjoy some socially distanced celebrations.

“The work the team did was incredible and I’m so proud of every single one of them. We built great relationships with the YAS team and this award is recognition of the great partnership we created in such a short space of time.”

David Sanderson, Associate Director of Estates, Fleet and Facilities at YAS, said the award was thoroughly deserved following “amazing” work from the Sewell FM team.

He said: “This award is fantastic recognition of the effort that Sewell FM put in, especially at such short notice.

“Things happened very quickly, which was important for us, and we went from nothing to a working partnership in less than a month.

“The team were amazing and changed the perception of estates maintenance within the organisation to the extent they will be a very hard act to follow

“After only a few weeks, it felt like true collaboration at its best, the feedback from stations was excellent and it was almost seamless. It felt like they were part of the team from day one and not a supplier, which is a real credit to their people.

“We have learnt a lot from Sewell FM, around how efficiently they operate, the focus on their people, and the way they do business. It has certainly started to change the way we do things and has generated a ‘can do’ attitude that we found from all their engineers.”

This is the second award won by Sewell Facilities Management at the same event in recent years. The business’ ‘Abilities in Facilities’ partnership with Mencap won the Impact on Society award in 2018, which recognised how the team created paid employment and training opportunities for individuals with a learning disability.

Sewell Facilities Management looks after a portfolio of schools, health centres, public sector and commercial facilities across the Yorkshire region. The team delivers tailored packages of planned, reactive and statutory maintenance services, with 24/7 customer support.