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Leaving a Legacy – building a future: Vail Williams celebrates 25th anniversary

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Leaving a Legacy – building a future: Vail Williams celebrates 25th anniversaryVail Williams is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the launch of its Legacy initiative aiming to make a difference to the community and inspire its employees.

As the company reaches its quarter-century this year it is not only stepping up its fundraising activities for nominated charities, but also increasing efforts to develop staff, and invest in projects such as mentoring for future generations – all under the Legacy banner.

Vail Williams Solent region – with offices in Southampton and Portsmouth – is backing the Elizabeth Foundation. It is a national charity, based in Portsmouth, which supports infants and preschool children with hearing loss and their families.

It is an example of how money will be collected into a central fund by Vail Williams teams around the country and distributed to each of the regions’ nominated charities. Employees’ personal volunteering efforts and fundraising are being encouraged too.

The Solent region has also joined the Paris Smith Charity Forum set up to provide local charities with a free source of informal professional advice for questions about the law or property, for example.

Funds contributed by the company are also helping people. Vail Williams’ Chris Perry Fund provides bursaries for students in real estate at the University of Reading, in memory of former company partner Chris Perry who died in 2009.

Employees are also supported in their personal development through the David Nasif Memorial Fund to which they can apply for funding for non-work courses, for example.

And a flow of trainees have learned core business skills in the three years since Vail Williams started its government-backed apprenticeship scheme for school and college leavers to gain a Business Administration NVQ and build up talent in the area.

After first launching in the Solent region, the initiative has spread around the company giving apprentices a year’s contract and an opportunity to prove themselves and perhaps even be offered a full-time job.

Among them is 19-year-old Kerry Hatch, a former Totton College student, who started at Vail Williams in August 2012. She said: “The experience I’ve gained has been very important to me. My confidence has been boosted, and I’m improving every day how I work with people and tackle assignments.

“I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do at first, but my time at Vail Williams has opened my eyes to the career opportunities in business.”

Vail Williams is also a founding member of ARISE – the Alliance to Reward Initiatives and Social Enterprise. The Portsmouth-based alliance of business partners, a collaboration between Land Securities, which owns the Gunwharf Quays retail complex, Wightlink and Vail Williams, provides an annual fund supporting local community group initiatives and activities.

Vail Williams partner and chief executive Ian Rudland said: “Legacy is a wide-ranging initiative which we want to benefit the community, charities, individuals and inspire our own staff. Our 25-year history means a lot to us and to mark it we want to give something back.”

Since Vail Williams was formed in 1988 the company has been involved in a string of high profile developments and property deals. It has expanded threefold since then.

Solent Business Park, located midway between Southampton and Portsmouth, is a flagship achievement where dozens of successful companies are now based. Vail Williams acted for Arlington Securities throughout the assembly of the 150 acres of land in the late 1980s, as well as the master planning and marketing of the development.

Southampton’s Ocean Village was another landmark scheme: Vail Williams assisted Rosehaugh Associated Ports Development through the same stages, before moving its own offices to the development from its old base in the north of the city.

Major clients have included IBM, the Ministry of Defence, Vospers, B&Q, NatWest, Plessey, Raymarine and GEC Marconi.

The West Quay development in Southampton city centre is yet another example of Vail Williams helping secure major investment in the area by sealing the land deal between Hammerson and about 50 different interests.

Regional partner Martin Tice, who has been with Vail Williams since the start, said: “We’ve seen big changes: growing regulation, the balance of power shifting to tenants, more flexible leases and buildings, the migration of companies out of city centres and not least three recessions sandwiched by periods of massive activity and growth.”

Vail Williams was ahead of its time in the early 1990s when it carried out its own occupiers’ review to find out what commercial tenants actually wanted. This research achieved national acclaim and was the benchmark for the design of many new buildings in the 1990s.

Mr. Tice added: “Over the past 25 years the market has become far more sophisticated with property becoming a significant issue as companies plan business growth. They are realising that a property professional is just as important to their operation as legal or finance experts.”

The assistance Vail Williams gave the University of Southampton developing the Chilworth Research Centre into Southampton Science Park is another example of supporting investment, this time through master planning and marketing.

Commercial property over the next 25 years, he predicted, would be developed through mixed-use schemes such as Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth – which Vail Williams helped become reality by supporting the acquisition and master planning of the site.

And where Southampton and Portsmouth have seen companies migrate outwards to business parks, he predicted a reverse in the future prompted by commuters keen to swap expensive-to-run cars for the better public transport links and better access to amenities enjoyed by urban centres.

Mr. Tice said: “We’ve played our part in the economic growth of the Solent region over the last 25 years and we are determined to continue getting the best results for our clients for the next half-century.

“We’ve developed to become more resilient against the tough times and now offer an expanding range of disciplines and services under one roof.  We have proudly preserved our core expertise and regional knowledge which have built our reputation that gives us the edge in the market.”

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 11th May 2013 (updated 17/05/2013)

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