Many of us have faced challenges as part of the coronavirus pandemic, including our Service personnel and their families who have been stationed abroad while on deployment overseas.
DIO is working quickly to support military families and other government departments in the fight against Coronavirus. As part of this, we have worked with our industry partner Amey and their subcontractors to provide homes at short notice for more than 130 Service personnel and their families evacuated from training bases and outstations overseas. To date, 124 homes have been occupied by families from Nepal, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and other African countries, as well as Brunei and Ukraine, with the remainder due to be occupied in the near future. We are awaiting confirmation of flights for Belize-based Service personnel and families and have further homes ready for their arrival in UK.
Making it happen
Due to the fast-moving nature of the pandemic, the DIO accommodation team had just 72 hours’ notice to identify and prepare Service Family Accommodation (SFA) before the first evacuation flight arrived in UK. We worked collaboratively with Amey and our supply chain to swiftly put together a plan, identifying new-build homes at Larkhill that could be made ready for families to occupy immediately.
We then notified Lovell Partnerships and Steele Davies of the work required to prepare the properties to move-in standard. Within hours, maintenance engineers arrived at the properties and worked with utility contractors to ensure that each home was safe to occupy and cleaned to move-in standard. We also worked with BT and Openreach to ensure telephone lines and internet connections were in place. This meant that families could immediately connect with their friends and loved ones, children could resume their studies from home, and Service personnel and their spouses could work at home where possible. The properties were also furnished with essential items of furniture, white goods and much needed items such as bedding, ready for incoming occupants who had been forced to leave their own homes with whatever they could carry.
The dedication, hard-work and collaboration of DIO, Amey, Army Regional Command and the Director of Basing and Infrastructure, Lovell Partnerships, Steele Davies, Harrow and Green, BT and Openreach, ensured that the first properties were ready for the families to move into within 48 hours – an extraordinary effort from all concerned.
We have further plans in place to support the repatriation of UK Armed Forces families from other parts of the world. We know that this is an anxious time for our Service personnel and their families and we are doing our utmost to provide the best possible support during these unprecedented times.