The social impact of the Barking Riverside extension project

As the Barking Riverside extension project comes to a conclusion, the team has been looking back on some of the important community projects the Morgan Sindall Infrastructure and VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture (MSVF), has been involved with.

Barking Riverside station train pulls in against blue sky

The MSVF joint venture began its community engagement commitments by generating a social value target of £100 million for the £196 million contract in December 2018. By January 2022, this was more than doubled with over £221m worth of social value activity achieved, across a range of community engagement initiatives.

MSVF launched its social value charter bank to record the difference major projects can, and are, making to their local communities, to quantify their success and to ‘bank’ its value in a format accessible to the wider industry.

The £221m worth of SV activities included:

- 39 apprenticeships created/supported - 17 throughout the supply chain
- 1,000+ work placement days
- 4,000+ mentoring hours
- 1,400+ school students engaged
- £32k community fundraising/donations
- Targeted work placements for women and young adults with autism
- Local recruitment – resulting in four positions filled within the community
- School sports outreach programme in partnership with Barking Rugby Club 600+ students engaged, including ever growing numbers of girls
- ICE site visits
- QUEST school visits and placements
- School and college visits
- School partnerships and community garden projects
- Virtual drop-in meetings
- NHS COVID-19 donations
- 168 small to medium enterprises engaged forming circa 38% of project spend

Learn more about these specific activities:

Riverside Bridge School (sensory garden)

MSVF worked with the school, which serves the special educational needs of 136 children ranging from 4-16 years old, turning an existing, overgrown and unusable, garden, which was never fully accessible, into a sensory/edible garden, fully accessible for staff and students, along with several environmental workshops for students and staff.

Thames View Community Garden

A local council garden, with the objectives of promoting healthy eating, providing community space for families to grow fruit and vegetables. The project faced brownfield challenges, which MSVF helped overcome, by building a series of raised beds (12) and a ‘Bee Hub’. 13 families now use this space.

Barking Food Forest

Aims to provide a safe space for the local community to learn how to grow, prepare and cook food; based on permaculture ethics, earth care, people care and fair share. MSVF supported all three initiatives, with specialist construction expertise, volunteering hours, material reuse, recycling, and donations -monetary and time.

Targeted inclusion programmes

MSVF researched and recognised existing work placement programmes, focusing on diverse, inclusive and local recruitment, featuring specific targets for the UK construction industry. Using existing recruitment avenues, local employment groups, careers fairs and events, social media and interviews, MSVF achieved:
• ‘Women into Construction’ programme – 40 beneficiaries, eight placements and five recruits
• ‘Get into Transport’ programme – 30 beneficiaries, four work placements and one recruit
• ‘Steps into Work’ – young adults with autism - two placements (virtual)


MSVF completed the Race the Thames fundraiser, participating with several schools, raising over £3,000 for London Youth Rowing. The fundraiser was supported by Andre Triggs-Hodge OBE, who thanked MSVF via video message.