Triple success for John O'Conner

Company wins tenders for two major contracts and scoops corporate social responsibility award.

Two major contracts and a corporate social responsibility award have been claimed by John O'Conner Grounds Maintenance.

Midland Heart called up the grounds specialist for landscape work around housing in a contract worth £700,000. The team won 11 out of 17 lots in a first round of tendering and a further two out of five in a second.

Meanwhile, Aldwyck Housing Group, accommodating 20,000 people in 9,500 homes, chose John O'Conner for grounds maintenance across the south-east and east of England in a three-year £150,000 deal.

"Strict criteria were based not only on value for money but a commitment to placing residents at the heart of the service and involving local communities," said managing director Matt O'Conner, who will take on apprentices, offer work experience and use local suppliers.

"It's fiercely competitive out there and we are not winning everything. But we are a robust company and tender where we can add value. We need to look at things like corporate social responsibility and creating jobs."

The firm did just that at St Albans City & District Council to win a corporate social responsibility award from the district's chamber of commerce. It praised the company for community-spirited activities such as sports sponsorship, work with friends groups on parks and beauty spots and work-experience programmes.

John O'Conner was the first company in Hertfordshire to work with Jobcentre Plus on a scheme to provide experience for young people in the area. One unemployed youngster gained a permanent post while another won an apprenticeship.

"Success in St Albans has been rolled out across the rest of the company and it has now taken on more than 40 young people across the UK," said O'Conner. "We were also instrumental in helping the district achieve a gold medal in the 2011 Anglia in Bloom."

Outdoor classroom

Bearbrook School in Aylesbury is turning a wilderness into a wildlife haven and classroom.

John O'Conner and waste company SITA UK volunteered to help create the outdoor plot, provide educational packs and build seats, raised beds, a butterfly garden and bird boxes.

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