We launched our 10 Goals for 10 Years initiative in 2019, and we are pleased to announce that we have made some excellent progress across the Devonshire Group in the past three years. Below is an overview of what we achieved in the past year.

We would like to thank our colleagues, partners, local communities, visitors and suppliers for their support in helping us achieve our goals.

Enable the creation of 1000 homes for local families and 1000 jobs for local people

To date, we have secured deals in Derbyshire and Yorkshire that will deliver over 250 new homes. A pipeline of projects is in development to create further places to live and work. In October 2020, planning permission was achieved to provide up to 650 new homes at Mastin Moor in Chesterfield. As part of that scheme, the Group has been working with Chesterfield Borough Council and its partners to deliver a Construction Skills Hub on site, which will help train the construction workforce of the future.

Double the benefit to local economies from our organisations

The pandemic highlighted the ways in which our operations benefit our local economies. We saw a significant reduction in the Devonshire Group’s direct economic impact, from £43.4m in 2019/20 to £25.5m in 2020/21. In 2021, in partnership with the University of Derby, we will continue to develop our methodology for assessing economic impact by measuring the indirect and enabled impacts of our colleagues’ and visitors’ activities.

Buy at least 50% of our supplies and services locally

To establish our impact on the local economy, each year we conduct a comprehensive supply chain assessment. In 2020/21, 48.3% of our spend was with businesses located less than 30 miles away by road. This represents a slight increase from 47.4% in 2019/20. Now in its third year, this exercise helps us determine long-term trends and maximise support of local suppliers and services.

Invest £50m in our heritage properties and landscapes

In 2020/21, a total of £5.3m was spent repairing and restoring Devonshire Group properties and landscapes. An enormous amount of hard work and dedication goes into looking after our estates, including dry stone walls, woodlands and nature trails. Due to the pandemic, the amount spent was lower than usual. However, in the past 3 years, almost £18m has been invested, helping secure the future of our natural and built heritage.

Enable every child in local schools to experience our estates as part of their primary education

During lockdown, a suite of curriculum-linked learning resources was developed and published online. Alongside this, we have also been reaching out in non-digital ways, sharing wellbeing and enrichment resources. At Christmas, kits containing practical, festive activities were shared with 1,142 schoolchildren and 270 residents of local care homes.

Achieve excellence in our visitor feedback scores

The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, visitors and local communities has always been our highest priority. During the pandemic, these principles were at the forefront of all of our plans. Our visitors and guests have supported us in our cautious and considered approach to reopening. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and warmly received.

Achieve scores of 80%+ for all measures of satisfaction and engagement in our colleague and volunteer survey

As in previous years, survey questions relating to satisfaction and engagement scored highly in 2020, with a majority (9 out of 12) achieving scores exceeding 80%. The average scores for questions on satisfaction and engagement were 86% and 85% respectively. The survey results are a valuable tool in decision-making, helping to deliver improvements in the workplace.

Take on 250 trainees, apprentices and paid graduates, and enable 250 pre-GCSE work experience placements

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we were unable to host any pre-GCSE work experience placements in 2020. However, we welcomed 6 trainees, 2 apprentices and 1 recent graduate. In 2021, we will be making full use of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme to create further employment opportunities for young people.

Reduce our impact on the environment

For much of the year, many of our buildings had to close their doors to the public, and many colleagues had to adapt to working from home. As such, our operations generated lower levels of waste, and our buildings consumed less energy. As our buildings reopen, and we welcome back visitors once again, we will continue efforts to minimise our environmental footprint.

Improve the quality of life and wellbeing of our local communities

The pandemic, which has affected us all in unprecedented ways, continues to place pressure on the most vulnerable members of society. In response, the Devonshire Group and its local communities have been working more closely than ever. In spring 2020, we established a community engagement forum, bringing together colleagues from across the organisation to help provide support for those in need.

For more detailed information about our achievements in 2020, and plans for 2021, please contact Tom Hendry.

We believe that working with our local communities, employees, visitors, suppliers, and partners towards our goals, will help us all to thrive.