Robbie is the Assistant Director at Gilmartins, a contractor and interior fit-out company that partners with Look Ahead providing repairs and key services.
I’ve worked at Gilmartins for over 12 years now, and have spent roughly eight of those years working together with Look Ahead. Our company works with many valued clients across different sectors nationwide, including in social housing, and we are truly proud that Look Ahead is one of them.
Our partnership goes all the way back to 2014, when Gilmartins first won a Repairs, Voids and Planned Works Contract to provide a variety of services across Look Ahead’s western service region. It was a big responsibility, after all, that includes services everywhere from Bracknell in Berkshire, all the way through to Westminster in the heart of London, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle.
Ever since, we have been providing a variety of services to Look Ahead properties, whether day to day repairs like fixing leaky taps, or big jobs like refurbishing void rooms and flats for the next customer to move in. Then there’s the planned works, and I must say, these are my favourite.
Planned works projects involve specially fitting out a property to meet a person’s specific needs. These of course can vary massively, especially across Look Ahead’s diverse services and specialisms, but let me give you just one example from many. If a customer uses a wheelchair for instance, they may require certain adjustments that meet their mobility needs, Gilmartins would then fit out their home accordingly, perhaps lowering the sink and work surfaces in the kitchen in order to make them easier to reach to allow the person to cook, prepare food and wash their dishes. Projects like this are fantastic, as they mean that we get to play a part in supporting other people to live more independently. I can’t think of anything better than that.
Working with Look Ahead is a pleasure, and we have supported the organisation in other ways beyond our contract too, by donating to customer-led service improvement projects like Love your Home, and to the organisation’s Secret Santa drive.
Another great aspect about this partnership is the communication and consultation. We have regular meetings with Look Ahead to ensure that our operatives going to services for repairs – and other projects – can be sensitive to the needs of customers and avoid disrupting the important routines of the staff. We take advice on board and hold regular talks with our operatives who go to site. We ensure that they come at the most suitable time of day for the service, they know who to report to when they arrive and how best to work with alongside the support workers to get the job done smoothly. This helps make our service better for the people who need it most.