Kier VolkerFitzpatrick (KVF35) joint venture at RAF Lakenheath wins Ministry of Defence Social Value Sanctuary Award

The KVF35 programme has generated over £83m of social value, with 42% of the project costs directed to local small and medium enterprises. This far surpasses the initial target of £1m.


The Kier VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture (KVF35) working at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk is proud to have been named as joint winners in the social value award category at the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Sanctuary Awards 2021. Now in their 30th year, the awards celebrate outstanding conservation efforts from service personnel, civilian staff, industry partners and volunteers.

Since December 2018, KVF35 has been delivering a large scale defence critical infrastructure and construction development at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). The award is in recognition of the project generating over £83m of social value, far exceeding the £1m target. 

There has also been a benefit to the local area, with 42% of the project costs being spent with local small and medium enterprises, surpassing the target of 30%. In addition, members of the programme have volunteered at events for the local community, ranging from tree planting, to providing insight on working in construction at school careers events.

Deon Scholtz, operations director for VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “It is fantastic that the KVF35 joint venture has been recognised by the Sanctuary Awards for its social value initiatives in Suffolk. The outstanding social value results are testament to the hard work, collaboration and commitment of the KVF35 team and I am delighted that our support will last well beyond the completion of the project.’

The Sanctuary Award for social value was achieved by focusing on five key areas surrounding the project, up to the end of December 2021. These include:

Volunteering -  Theteam organised nine volunteering days with local charities, generating over £9,000 of social impact. KVF35 also donated £3,000 of surplus lighting to the nearby East Anglian Military Museum.

Training - Over 130 local suppliers attended KVF35 meet the buyer events and the team also hosted supply chain training events, to support suppliers new to working in a secure environment. KVF35 hosted one day virtual work placements and mentoring for 230 students from Nene Park Academy and eight virtual careers sessions were delivered at Mildenhall Academy, including the provision of CV writing workshops. The sessions have been well received by students and teachers and the team’s innovative approach enabled continued student engagement and training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sustainability - To help fight climate change, KVF35 installed three X-solar hybrid tower lights across the site. The units have not required refuelling for five months, saving over 4,800 litres of diesel and preventing greenhouse gas and particulate emissions. Project team volunteers planted 360 trees in Thetford, enhancing the local ecology. Also, at Thetford Cemetery, 14 bird and bat boxes were donated and installed, with existing boxes around the estate also being repaired and upgraded.

Equal opportunities – The project has employed 65 apprentices, as well as providing 12 work placements for final year university students, military leavers (through Buildforce) and women (through Women in Construction). Six mentors are signed up with VETS, a mentoring programme for service personnel looking to begin a career in construction. Multiple events were delivered to showcase career opportunities for women, breaking down the stigma across the construction industry. This included attendance at West Suffolk College careers fair and the University of East Anglia’s #SheCan event in Norwich.

Wellbeing - To aid wellbeing the team has trained 17 Mental Health Champions and three Mental Health First Aiders, driving a programme of initiatives, including suicide awareness and prevention, tea and talk, stress awareness and resilience training for all staff.

Through innovative and sustainable methods of social value delivery, KVF35 will leave a legacy in the local community and on the local economy, lasting well beyond project completion.