In May 2016, the Duke of Cambridge officially opened The Passage homeless resource centre, an ISG refurbishment project that took nearly two years to complete.
The visit was the second time Prince William had been to The Passage, after having visited as a child in 1994 with his brother, Harry, and late mother, Princess Diana.
The royal visit marked the culmination of 18 months of careful planning, demolition, restoration, construction and fit out works in order to bring The Passage resource centre in Victoria, London, into the 21st century.
The Passage supports 200 people a day, all of whom rely on the charity to obtain basic needs like food, warmth, healthcare and shelter.
“Clearly this was more than just a building project for ISG. It was a great team and we all got on very well through the highs and the lows. In terms of expectations, we are thrilled with what we have ended up with.”
The Passage CEO, Mick Clarke
The building’s new bright and airy spaces, modern kitchen, flexible conference facilities, new bed sits and NHS treatment rooms are a far-cry from The Passage of old.
The three original buildings on Carlisle Place, which make up The Passage, were built in the mid-1800s, and the buildings have always catered for the poor and the destitute in the community.
The buildings functioned as both a school and an orphanage before The Passage took over in 1980, becoming the UK’s largest voluntary sector homeless resource centre.
“We had a building which was falling apart and wasn’t particularly welcoming,” said Mick. “So the opportunity to refurbish inside and out was an opportunity we were thrilled to seize.”
ISG engaged in a huge design and build project, which would radically alter the internal structure and layout of the building. All floor levels across the three buildings were brought into alignment, which meant removing and installing new floor slabs and structural steel beams. The iconic façade was completely redecorated, while stained glass was moved from a former on-site chapel and installed into a brand new double-height reception area. ISG also installed new staircases, lifts, shower blocks and bathroom facilities, training centres and IT rooms, a library, a specially-designed two storey ‘winter garden’ with a glazed roof and a brand new roof terrace.
ISG project manager, Mark Kermack, said the project was challenging due to complex logistical issues, neighbourhood relations, and a phased handover that involved creating temporary office space for The Passage staff, who continued to work throughout the refurbishment process.
“This job has been challenging in lots of ways. But it’s a quality product the client is delighted with. It ticks all the boxes in terms of why people would want to employ ISG.”Mark Kermack, ISG project manager
The royal visit was a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of everyone involved in this life-changing project.
Not only was it life-changing for the charity and their many staff and volunteers, but more importantly the clients who rely on The Passage facilities every day.
Larry Hunter, who helped to secure work via The Passage after a time sleeping rough on the streets, described the refurbishment as bringing new hope to the clients, who are now being served in an environment which is both warm and friendly.
“The refurbishment has helped The Passage to run more smoothly,” Larry said.
We hope the new building will help The Passage to continue its great work long into the future.
The pop-star Ellie Goulding – who has sold more than four million albums worldwide – visited The Passage refurbishment on 17 June 2015. Dressed in full ISG protective equipment, she posed for a photograph with The Passage Chief Executive, Mick Clarke, and Cassandra Gracey from Turnfirst Artists. Posting the image on her Instagram account, the singer wrote: “Myself and @cassandragracey were lucky enough to have a tour of what will be the newly refurbished building for The Passage resource centre for the homeless and those rebuilding their lives in London. The work these guys do is so incredibly inspiring! I can't wait to see it when finished! Going to look amazing!”
Background The Passage’s mission is to provide resources which encourage, inspire and challenge homeless people to transform their lives. The Passage is based in London but works with over 2,000 individuals each year who arrive here from all over the UK and numerous other countries. It therefore runs projects across London and beyond. It fulfills its mission by providing: homelessness prevention projects; resource centre services; outreach services; hostel accommodation; supported semi-independent accommodation; and community support for formerly homeless people.
It costs £4m a year to keep The Passage operating with only 40% funded from statutory sources. The rest of the funding comes from donations. Click here to donate to The Passage.View video
We strive to be an efficient and successful business and believe our prosperity is reliant on performing to an exemplary level, whilst promoting the prosperity of the community in which we are working.
As an organisation, we place a high value on maintaining good relationships with our neighbours, and as we are going to be part of your community for a short period of time, we will be providing updates on site progress on a monthly basis via this website and ISG newsletters. We are a socially responsible contractor and one of only a handful of companies invited to become an Associate Member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme which promotes responsible working practices within construction. We recently received a longevity award in recognition of the part we’ve played over the last 10 years in improving the image of construction and working to the very highest levels of consideration.
We would like to thank the following people for their time in contributing and helping with our video and the project.
The Passage: • CEO, Mick Clarke • PA to CEO, Ann Beswick • ETWR manager, Richard Wealleans • Services manager, Lorraine Richardson • Client ambassador, Mark Smith • Client, Larry Hunter • Client, Stephen Antia • Client, Lily Ulasi • Client, Khaddy Chann • Volunteer, Isabella Ritchie • And a big thank you to Zoe Richardson.
The Capture Agency: • Director/producer, Ben Richardson • Camera, Chris Wanklyn • Producer, Venita Kidza
Project team: • Project manager, AECOM • Architect, BuckleyGrayYeoman • Quantity surveyor, Rider Levett Bucknall • M&E engineer, Norman Disney & Young • CDM co-ordinator, Rider Levett Bucknall • Structural engineer, Parmarbrook