We find out what it's like to work on the Frontier Centre Facilities Team
Although our Centre Facilities Team are made up of larger than life characters, you probably wouldn’t have noticed them during your school residential trip or group weekend away. They were quietly cutting the grass, sweeping back the leaves or rescuing fluffy toys accidentally flushed down the loo. So we’ve decided to shine a light behind the u-bend and find out what really goes on in the teams that are responsible for the upkeep of our centres.
The Frontier Centre Team
The Boss – Clive – The Practical Joker
Foxy – The Cockney One
Bob – The Saint, for putting up with the other two!
How many years’ experience do you have between you?
Between us there are 27 years working for Rock UK, and over 112 years in many related fields including, civil engineering, building, carpentry, landscape gardening and repairing appliances. Well, at least groups can be assured their centre is in very safe hands.
You must have some funny stories to tell
We’ll try and keep it clean – well sort of! There was one time we had disconnected a sewage pipe to do some work on it whilst a group were out of the building. We had asked them not to flush the loo during a specific time period. Needless to say that communication didn’t get through to someone because all of a sudden lots of lovely toilet “stuff” came flooding down the disconnected pipe and all over Foxy!
Would you say there’s such a thing as a typical day?
No, no two days are ever the same. There is always something different to do that keeps us on our toes and make the day interesting. You can be cutting the grass one day or pulling things out of the loo the next. Mondays are always the busiest as there are the jobs that have come up over the weekend. There is also the fire alarm tests, vehicle checks and bin checks before getting on with other jobs.
Do you get involved in anything else around the centre?
Yes, some of us are also qualified on various activities so if someone is sick and the centre is fully booked out, we can be called on to help out. We’ve rescued a big stuffed red dragon from the roof of one of the buildings after a group had thrown it up there. We’ve even had to rescue Clive from a rabbit hole!
Have you ever broken something you’re supposed to be fixing?
Foxy – Whilst working in Cedar Lodge loft, I managed to put my foot through the ceiling creating a massive hole. I had to spend the rest of the day fixing it. Clive – I’d finished replacing a broken window pane only to smash it accidentally with a mallet. Foxy – I once had to remove a whole shower cubical to retrieve my glasses. They’d fallen off my head and I didn’t notice until it was too late. Notice there are no stories from Bob!
What’s the best thing about working in the Facilities Team?
It’s full of variety, we never know what we’re up to next. No two days are ever the same. Although what we do is very important, we try not to take ourselves too seriously and we have a laugh every day – mainly at the expense of each other!
Have you ever encountered any wild animals around the centre?
All the time. We see rabbits, hares, voles, sparrow hawks, woodpeckers, pheasants, badgers, foxes (no relative of course), red kites, mink, deer, buzzards and bats to name a few. That’s why it’s such a great place for groups and schools from large cities who never get to see animals in their natural habitat. We found cows standing in the canoes early one morning and we’ve herded sheep into a safe enclosure for the local farmer to come and collect. We’ve even had cows following and licking the maintenance truck but that’s another story altogether!
How long does it take to cut the grass?
There are 122 acres at Frontier Centre, about 70 acres of that is grassland which takes us about four days to cut on two ride on mowers. We cut it every fortnight.
What do you do in winter when there’s nothing growing outside to cut back?
Frontier Centre is a huge site with 239 beds in nine different types of accommodation. When we’re not maintaining the grounds there are the buildings to look after. Winter is the perfect time for this. This year’s winter project is fitting ensuite bathrooms and painting over 20 rooms in Willow Lodge. Other jobs include, fitting carpets, kitchens, PAT testing, re-fitting windows and doors and getting buildings ready for the start of the next busy period in spring.
Last question and probably just as important as the first, who’s “the real boss” of this team?
The guys look around at each other and then agree – that would be Magda and Rachel who look after the Centre Team and Admin Team. Between them they keep us on our toes and always have jobs lined up for us to do. As the team head off to carry on with their work, we want to thank them for taking the time out of their busy schedule to shed some light on what it’s like to keep a very busy centre in order.
Next time you’re at Frontier Centre and you see them out cutting the grass or painting a fence, give them a wave and say hello.