intouch magazine - issue 54 - June 2024

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The Hills Group Magazine | June 2024 - Issue 54 pages
The in a Meet
4-7 digital world human touch
the HR and IT teams Farewell to Bob ‘The Builder’ page 8 Celebrating a unique partnership with WWT pages 18-19
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08 10 14
06 04 16 18

goes from strength to strength

The past 12 months has seen big changes and some big achievements for the Human Resources team.


It has also been a time of transformational change for IT with a new structure and the department divided into IT Projects and IT Support.

Bob Sparrow remembered

Intouch says goodbye to Bob Sparrow, the much loved and much missed former Director of Hills Homes.

extra mile, with a smile

Meet some of the unsung heroes from the Municipal Collections teams who have attracted praise from Wiltshire’s residents.

immortalises Cleveland Lakes on the big screen

Find out how a lake in the Cotswold Water Park was used as the location for a film directed by George Clooney and starring Joel Edgerton.

Putting Community First

For 20 years Hills has worked closely with Community First directing Landfill Community Fund grants to benefit a wide range of community projects.

A unique partnership

We celebrate a 32 year relationship between The Hills Group and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

The past six months has been an exciting period of change for the business, which has included both the IT and HR teams undergoing transformations. Whilst our sites, vehicles and frontline staff are the visible face of the business, our divisions rely on the support of shared functions like IT and HR to help ensure that operations run smoothly. You can read more about these teams and how they are delivering for the business on pages 4 to 7.

Clooney swaps LA for Cleveland LA-kes

It’s not every day that a Hollywood legend visits a restored Hills’ quarry as a location for his latest film, but that was the case when George Clooney came to Cleveland Lakes in the Cotswold Water Park. Read more on page 14.

Partnership Power

Supporting the communities and environments where we live and work remains important to the business and so we celebrate our partnerships with the Cotswold Lakes Trust page 12, plus Community First and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on pages 16 to 19.

Farewell to Bob ‘The Builder’

I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing people in the business, but few shone as bright as former Hills Homes Director, Bob Sparrow. We remember Bob and his contribution to Hills in a tribute on page 8.

intouch 54 Viewpoint 3 Featured
16 Going
08 IT
welcomes dynamic new in-house team
06 HR
04 18

strength to strength HR goes from

It’s been a busy time for the Human Resources (HR) department recently, having successfully delivered an array of new projects over the last 12 months.

The department, led by Pamela Hunt, Head of HR, has also welcomed three new members to the fold, expanding their team to nine.

Emoke Stapleford has joined the business from Cranswick Country Foods PLC, to take on the position of Talent and Development Lead. Her team of two, which also includes new addition Andy Johnson as Talent and Development Advisor, is focussed on working with stakeholders to recruit new talent and improve learning and development across the business.

Kerry Chandler remains as Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) and Payroll Lead, supported by Sophie Cable,

Julie Clayton, HR Business Partner, has further expanded her team with new recruit Jill Jenkins in the role of HR Advisor. Jill joins Greg Jones, Senior HR Advisor and Peter Brown, HR Administrator, to complete the team of four. The team handle employee relations across all divisions of the business.

Their reinforced ranks have already enabled the department to streamline day-to-day processes and will allow them to expand their remit even further in the future.

In the last year alone, they have successfully launched the Kallidus/Learning for All eLearning platform. While still in its first phase, the project has already seen the successful rollout of several training modules to all IT users across the business, including Cyber Security, Modern Slavery, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Mental Health Wellbeing training was also rolled out to senior managers.

During the course of 2023, the department introduced a random Drug and Alcohol testing program throughout Hills

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Inset: Kerry Chandler, HRIS & Payroll Lead.

leave trading has also been extended allowing flexibility for employees who wish to buy or sell annual leave. Occupational health support has increased to ensure that we understand our employees’ health concerns and conditions better, enabling the Company to provide the right support and adjustments at the right time.

They also made substantial improvements to the usability of Empactis: an absence management tool that gives managers greater clarity of employee absence.

The team have many new and exciting projects already planned for the next few years, including introducing further learning and development opportunities through the continued phased rollout of

One of their most recent projects was the launch of the Wellbeing Hub, an evolution of the Cost of Living Hub. The new hub is focussed on four wellbeing pillars and contains useful information, helpful links and reminders of employee benefits.

2023 saw a lot of required HR policy updates and the introduction of new policies, including a variety of time and financial enhancements for our employees such as Jury Service and Reserve Armed Forces leave, plus development of our wellbeing capability. We have also worked to improve the self-service functionality within SD Worx and commenced the implementation of the Learning for All learning management system to answer the need for a better and more secure way to record, monitor, report and deliver training, whilst providing access, visibility and transparency for our operational management teams.

“Now that we have a full team in place, 2024 aims to see several projects come to fruition with continuous improvements and enhancements taking us well into 2025, bringing benefit not only to the Hills business but also enhancing our employee engagement experience.”

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Left to right: Greg Jones, Senior HR Advisor; Pamela Hunt, Head of HR; Jill Jenkins, HR Advisor; Emoke Stapleford, Talent & Development Lead, Andy Johnson, Talent & Development Advisor; Sophie Cable, HRIS & Payroll Coordinator; Peter Brown, HR Administrator, Julie Clayton, HR Business Partner.

IT welcomes

dynamic new in-house team

It’s been all change for the IT department with a brand new team and structure. Over the last 12 months, IT has undergone a big transformation and now boasts a large in-house team of experts.

The new setup sees the department divided into two main teams: IT Projects and IT Support.

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Insets, left to right: Cine Pereira, IT Coordinator; Paul Bell, Computer Programmer; Chris Beckett, Computer Programmer. Standing, left to right: Gillson Wehemba, IT 2nd Line Engineer; John Ashplant, IT Operations Manager; Ben Callaghan, IT 2nd Line Engineer; Stephen Clark, IT Project Delivery Manager; Stuart Mullock, IT 3rd Line Engineer; Rafio Gonsalves, IT Support Desk Analyst. Seated, left to right: Rebecca Simpkins, IT 2nd Line Engineer; Carla Ferreira, Data Analyst; Suzanne Hill, Business Analyst; Karl Hooper, IT Project Coordinator.

IT Projects

Stephen Clark has taken on the mantle of IT Project Delivery Manager and heads up the IT Projects team.

Stephen oversees a team of five who work on a variety of IT projects across the company.

The new structure sees Carla Ferreira in the role of IT Data Analyst, Karl Hooper as IT Project Coordinator, Suzanne Hill in the position of IT Business Analyst and Progress Computer Programmers Chris Beckett and Paul Bell.

Over the last year, the team have been responsible for delivering a variety of successful implementations and improvements to the business, including Microsoft Office 365, Cyber Essentials Plus, the expansion of SharePoint and the migration of the Progress environment to an upgraded environment.

“Our new look department is much more customer focused, with a real can-do ethos at its heart. Our integrated team of engineers are dedicated to getting the job done in a proactive and timely manner.”

Stephen Clark, IT Project Delivery Manager

IT Support

In a move away from former service support provider Vysiion, the department welcomed John Ashplant as IT Operations Manager last autumn.

John manages the new in-house IT Support team focussed on providing a first-class service to assist the smooth dayto-day running of the business.

The team of seven is responsible for everything from solving helpdesk queries to maintaining and improving IT infrastructure throughout Hills.

The new line-up sees Cine Pereira in the role of IT Coordinator, Rafio Gonsalves as IT Support Desk Analyst 1st Line Engineer, Gillson Wehemba, Rebecca Simpkins and Ben Callaghan as IT 2nd Line Engineers and Stuart Mullock in the position of IT 3rd Line Engineer.

The team successfully launched the new Halo IT helpdesk system at the start of this year, which, once fully established, will see the rollout of a self-service cloud portal available to all business users.

The IT support team is also responsible for improving inter-site connectivity through the implementation of Starlink at our sites in Purton, Woodsford, Newbury and Wilmington.

“Our team is essential in the daily operation of the business, so we want to provide everyone with the very best level of service. We hope to achieve this through 360 feedback, increased team visibility and enhanced accessibility to IT services across all our sites.”


Ashplant, IT Operations Manager

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Farewell to

Bob ‘The Builder’

The company lost a dear friend when former Hills Homes Production Director, Bob Sparrow passed away in October last year.

Bob left school at 15 and started working with his father George, who was a builder in Broad Hinton. Sadly, George died suddenly a year later, and Bob joined Bradleys in Swindon as an Apprentice Bricklayer and worked his way up to Assistant Foreman. He then worked briefly at Beards as a Contract Manager before joining Charlgray Homes as a Site Agent and then Manager for many years. He then joined Marlborough Homes and became Managing Director.

After Marlborough Homes closed, Bob set up his own company, Olivemead Developments in October 1990, taking on a young Nick King (current Group Director of Homes) as a Director. Hills Property Ltd (later Hills Homes Developments) started using Olivemead as its building contractor in the mid-90s before Hills acquired Olivemead in January 1998. Bob became Production Director, a position he held until he retired 14 years later. During that time, Bob helped put Hills Homes on the map as a respected ‘award-winning’ regional housing developer, having overseen numerous developments in Wiltshire and its surrounding counties.

Bob did all this with an infectious sense of humour and was a legendary joke teller. Along with his wife Veronica, he also attended stakeholder conferences at which he was a very popular attendee. As Chief Executive Mike Hill remembers: “It was as if we’d hired our own entertainment act to come along for the weekend, he could tell Jethro stories better than Jethro himself.” Outside work, Bob was a devoted family man to his wife and daughters, Hannah, and Sarah and four grandchildren. Bob also enjoyed golf and skiing with friends and family, especially on trips abroad where he was always the main instigator of the fun and laughter.

“Bob was the life and soul whether he was at work or not. He will be very much missed by many people. I’ll tell you one thing, if there is an afterlife, he will be a very popular addition!”

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Blunsdon development is crowned

the best in LABC awards

Homes’ ‘The Paddocks’ development in Blunsdon, Swindon has triumphed in the recent Swindon Borough Council LABC regional awards - scooping the prize for ‘Best New Large Housing Development’.

Neil Linsell, Building Control Surveyor - Swindon Borough Council said: “Each dwelling at The Paddocks is constructed to the highest standard of finish and workmanship throughout. Hills Homes takes pride in the site design, construction, handover procedures and customer care, ensuring that each completed property is sparkling clean and snag free on occupation. The site was excellently managed from design stage to completion with the site managers concentrating on keeping the site safe and clean, without detracting from the standard and high quality finish that Hills Home are known for.”

Mark Tinson, Homes’ Divisional Director – Operations added: “We are delighted that our run of recent awards has continued and this achievement is just reward for all the hard work and commitment to quality that our teams on-site and in the office continue to apply. Well done everyone!”

No snags for Homes’ and NHBC training day

Hills Homes has worked in conjunction with NHBC to host an ‘Effective Snagging and Handover’ training course. The one-day event was held at Homes’ recently refurbished offices and training facility at Unit 15, County Park.

Mark Tinson, Divisional Director - Operations commented: “This was a great opportunity to improve both Hills’ site and office support staff, and our contractors’ understanding of the standards the country’s premier warranty provider expects in relation to the finished product we take to the market.

“In a climate where there is a no shortage of information available online for our prospective purchasers - it is invaluable to know what the expected standards are, so we can strive to exceed them, whilst managing purchasers’ expectations.

“The course was well attended and as expected several discussion points were tabled for debate. Ultimately taking the time for joined up collaborative efforts like this with our suppliers now and in the future will provide a number of benefits – namely in quality, finance, time and significantly reputation in our efforts to be considered best in class in the region.”

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Going the extra mile with a smile

In this issue we look to shine a light on some of the unsung heroes of Municipal Collections, who go the extra mile for residents across the county. We want to highlight the work of our dedicated crews who collect waste and recycling on a daily basis throughout the seasons, whatever the weather: rain or shine, wind or hail. Your efforts are appreciated!

Sands Farm

“I would like to pass on my thanks for the amazing service the collection crew are doing. They really help us as we struggle with the bins.”



“Our assisted collections team is fantastic. They always do a great job, and we appreciate their help.”


“Would you please thank the bin emptying team who emptied my bin today as they went the extra mile to locate it and empty it. Thank you very much.”

“May we take this opportunity to record our thanks to the collection teams for their excellent service and courtesy during this last year.”

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Pictured left to right: Paul Barratt – Loader; Stewart Reilly – Driver; David Coxhead - Loader Pictured left to right: James Bartlett – Loader, Daniel Caswell - Driver, Tristan Bartlett - Loader Pictured left to right: John King – Loader, Brian DonaldsonAgency driver (not pictured: Chester King – Loader) Kevin Moore - Assisted Collections Driver; (not pictured: Paul Whittaker – Loader)

Waste Solutions’

new junior takes Big Bite out of Bristol

Waste Solutions has added a new vehicle to their Bristol based fleet in a bid to expand their collection service in the local area.

The trade waste collection vehicle, known as the ‘Big Bite Junior’, is able to empty both wheelie bins and larger REL (Rear End Loader) containers. The new truck means that Waste Solutions can now offer their customer base in Bristol the opportunity to have larger bins for their waste needs.

Neil Luce, Area Depot Manager, said: “The introduction of the Big Bite Junior in Bristol not only means that we will be able to bring brokered work back in-house, but also allows us to offer a novel service to both new and existing customers in the area.”

Waste Solutions has already successfully added four Big Bite Juniors to their fleets at other depots across Wiltshire. So far, the addition of these vehicles has seen a marked improvement in the collection services available in the region.

With three more already on order, Waste Solutions plan to expand their remit even further in the near future and offer big bin collections across their entire operating area.

Sands Farm Visit

Chief Executive Mike Hill and his daughters Sophia and Louisa enjoyed a tour of the Sands Farm Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Calne, Wiltshire.

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Habitat Heroes!

The Hills Group has worked in collaboration with the Cotswold Lakes Trust since 1997, providing over £1.3 million to the charity through the Landfill Communities Fund.

This partnership has led to the creation and preservation of one of the most stunning and biodiverse wetland landscapes in the UK, which is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, as well as an array of exceptional leisure amenities.

The pivotal role The Hills Group has played supporting the conservation and protection of wildlife in the Cotswold Water Park has been further strengthened by becoming a Cotswold Lakes Trust - Premium Habitat Hero.

Peter Andrew, Group Director – Quarry Products, said: “The Hills Group has been operating in the Cotswold Water Park for more than 100 years and has created many of the lakes and wonderful habitats you see today. We are delighted to join the Premium Habitat Heroes scheme as it recognises our ongoing partnership with the Trust and our commitment to

“For more than 25 years, The Hills Group has consistently demonstrated significant support for the wildlife and people of the Cotswold Water Park through high quality quarry restoration. With their continued support of the Cotswold Lakes Trust’s biodiversity, education, access projects and now their addition to our new Habitat Heroes scheme, Hills continues to cement its commitment to creating a lasting local legacy.”

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Saving Voles is the goal!

The Cotswold Water Park Water Vole Recovery Project has been running since 2002 and is one of the longest running projects of its kind in the country.

Its main aim is to halt and reverse the decline of Water

Vole populations and their habitats, as over the last few decades, Water Voles have been the UK’s fastest declining mammal species.

Aside from being fascinating animals themselves, Water Voles are also an important food source for an array of other species making up the food web, including Herons, Owls, Harriers, Otters, Stoats, Pike, Foxes and the invasive American Mink.

The Hills Group has been a key supporter of the Cotswold Lakes Trust’s flagship project for several years, and as Ben Welbourn - Conservation and Estates Director at the Cotswold Lakes Trust explains: “It’s fair to say that without Hills’ support, Water Vole numbers in the Cotswold Water Park would not be as healthy as they are.”

Quarry products showcase plans for proposed new site

Quarry Products held a public exhibition to showcase their proposal to extract soft sand and establish a concrete plant on land in Oxfordshire.

The planning application, which has now been submitted to Oxfordshire County Council, is for the phased extraction of soft sand and the establishment of a concrete plant at the proposed new site near the village of Tubney.

If planning permission is granted, it is estimated that over the next 18 years, 17.3 hectares will be extracted, yielding approximately 900,000 tonnes of mineral.

The site, which will be called Tubworth Quarry, will replace the nearby Upwood Quarry after completion of extraction there and will be worked in eight phases, starting in the southeast corner and working northwards.

Restoration is planned immediately after each extraction phase is completed and will provide agricultural and ecological benefits to the area, including a wide range of new habitats.

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Cleveland Lakes

George Clooney on big screen immortalises

George Clooney has immortalised Cleveland Lakes Nature Reserve in the Cotswold Water Park, by bringing it to the big screen, courtesy of our partners Cotswold Lakes Trust (CLT).

The Hollywood legend used the 330 acre area as one of the main filming locations for his latest movie, The Boys in the Boat.

The film tells the inspiring true story of the University of Washington’s rowing team and their quest to compete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The CLT worked with the film makers to help facilitate the shoot at the area, near Ashton Keynes.

The Hills Group has worked in partnership with CLT for more than 25 years and together they have created a stunning biodiverse area for the local flora and fauna, as well as recreational opportunities for the local community.

Over the next few years, the trust plans to open the adjacent Waterhay Lake for a variety of low impact, environmentally sustainable water activities including rowing, canoeing, triathlon, paddleboarding and open water swimming. Its course is suitable for a major regional training and competition venue, so it’s also hoped that it may be used for this in the near future.

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Hollywood star Joel Edgerton on location at Cleveland Lakes.

– support and advice a click away

This year has seen the launch of The Hills Group Wellbeing Hub, building on the foundations of the company’s previous Cost of Living Hub.

HR Business Partner, Julie Clayton, who is leading on the project, said: “I am delighted that the new Wellbeing Hub is encouraging colleagues to engage more with our valuable free employee assistance programmes from Westfield Health and Health Assured.

“We are also confronting some difficult subjects and I want employees to use the hub as a signpost to many trusted advice portals available outside the company who can provide support for anyone dealing with difficult life situations, including suicide prevention and cancer.”

The Wellbeing Hub is being supported by the Communications and Marketing team who have been providing in-house creative to brand and promote the hub.

Group Digital and Publications Manager, Chris Waddell said:

“Some of the subjects dealt with on the Wellbeing Hub have hit very close to home for me, so I am particularly keen for other colleagues to have access to as much information as possible when dealing with complex issues that they, their families or friends might be going through.”

Useful and appropriate resources are available including reading material, links to support organisations, short videos and audio/podcasts.

Each month the Wellbeing hub will spotlight one of the four wellbeing pillars. Each of the four pillars will be spotlighted three times a calendar year.

“It is fantastic to see the hard work that Julie and Chris have put into this project so far being recognised. This is the start of more to come, as part of our desire to improve our employee engagement and wellbeing throughout all of Hills. Well done and thank you both for all of your hard work and commitment to this project so far.”

Please check for updates by visiting wellbeing-hub or by scanning the QR code.

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The Wellbeing Hub has four ‘pillars’ –

Community Putting


Hills has worked with Community First for more than 20 years, donating thousands of pounds to the local community through the Landfill Community Fund (LCF).

The LCF, which Community First administers and manages on behalf of The Hills Group, is used to fund a large number of community projects across Wiltshire and Swindon.

Over the last two decades, the partnership has been responsible for improving and strengthening communities across the region through dozens of initiatives.

Royal Wootton Bassett –Ceremonial Mace restoration

Two ceremonial Maces dating back to the 1500’s have been fully restored thanks to a Hills LCF donation. The Maces (pictured below) were on show at the recent Mayor Making ceremony at St Bartholomew & All Saints Church in Royal Wootton Bassett, which was attended by The Hills Group Chief Executive, Mike Hill.

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Swindon Town FC Community Foundation

Swindon Town Football Club Community Foundation received £10,000 to support the creation of a new state-of-the-art indoor community sports facility in central Swindon. The bespoke new facility offers all members of the community access to football and sporting opportunities.

Westbury Community Centre

The old youth centre in Westbury, Wiltshire, was refurbished to create a multi-age community centre for the local area, thanks to a generous £52,000 donation courtesy of The Hills Group.

Sarum Academy

Sarum Academy in Salisbury was able to install a 3G artificial turf football pitch, thanks in part to a £10,000 funding boost from the business. The site is used all year round by the schools in the Magna Learning Partnership and has helped the local community expand the sport in Salisbury and the Wiltshire area.

Purton Young Farmers’ Club

Purton and Cricklade Young Farmers clubhouse was rescued thanks to our £10,000 grant administered by Community First. The century-old building needed urgent repairs made to its roof to prevent water from entering the premises. The clubhouse is now used on a regular basis by both the junior and senior sections of the Young Farmers’ Club, as well as the local community.

Calne Archery Club –all weather path

Hills has supported numerous projects in Calne and the surrounding areas which included a £8,271 LCF grant to construct an all-weather path at Calne Archery Club, allowing people to access the archery range the whole year round.

West Wilts Youth Sailing Association

West Wilts Youth Sailing Association in Westbury, Wiltshire, received a funding boost of £10,000 to pay for the provision of toilets, showers, changing facilities and a kitchen area for the users of the lake.

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A unique partnership

The Hills Group has been working with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) for over three decades.

In this time, Hills has given over £9 million to the trust via the Landfill Communities Fund, helping them to achieve their vision of a sustainable future for wildlife and people across the region.

Over the last year alone, Hills’ continued support has enabled WWT to transform Wiltshire’s wildlife: improving habitats, creating special wildlife sites, undertaking vital conservation work and educating local communities.

“For 32 years now, the Trust has benefited from the generous and far-sighted support of The Hills Group. Strategic partnerships like ours will be fundamental to achieving our new ‘Wilder Wiltshire’ Strategy, with our headline goals of 30% of land across Wiltshire and Swindon managed for nature and 1 in 4 people supported to take meaningful action for nature by 2030.”

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Blackmoor Copse

The return of the Purple Emperor butterfly to Blackmoor Copse, the Trust’s first ever nature reserve, has been attributed to the work funded by Hills.

With more now returning in greater numbers, the reserve now boasts 25 out of the 59 species of butterfly found in the UK.

In addition to this, King Charles’ Pond at the nature reserve is home to woodland birds, damsel flies, hawker dragonflies and darter dragonflies.

It is hoped that through this unique partnership, Hills and the WWT can continue to work together throughout 2024 and beyond to create more sustainable spaces in which nature can thrive.

Jones’ Mill

The creation of an Agri-silviculture system at Jones’ Mill to enhance the biodiversity of the topmost grazed meadows, has completed its first phase.

The long-considered project to plant up the northernmost three fields with fruit and nut trees, predominantly walnuts, will create a trio of showpiece compartments to show how sustainable farming methods can produce multiple crops in parallel.

Phase one, which is now complete, included the planting of apple and pear trees interspersed with smaller fruiting shrubs. Phase two, which is due to start shortly, will include more fruiting trees alongside a matrix of walnut trees.

Bay Meadows

A new nature reserve, Bay Meadows, was made possible thanks to a generous £60,000 Landfill Communities Fund donation from Hills.

The free-access project, which is situated on the outskirts of Marlborough, is a chalk stream nature reserve that comprises of 30 acres of restored water meadows. It’s now home to over 300 species, including otter, wild brown trout and one of the last refuges of water voles.

Hills’ Chairman Alan Pardoe and Chief Executive Mike Hill opened the Wiltshire nature reserve at an official ceremony attended by Ninna Gibson, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Nick Fogg, Mayor of Marlborough, as well as a small group of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s major stakeholders.

“It is a real honour to be able to open Bay Meadows and one that has been made even more special by our long-time links with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the town of Marlborough.”

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Wildcats celebrate

return to home ice

After last September’s heavy flooding left them without a rink, Swindon Wildcats were thrilled to return to home ice in December 2023.

The Hills Group has sponsored the ice hockey giants for many years now and Mike Hill, Chief Executive joined the team to celebrate their return to the Link Centre.

Mike was given the honour of presenting ‘Man of the Match’ at the Wiltshire team’s recent 5-3 win over MK Lightning.

The Wildcats went on to have a great season - securing a place in the semi-final playoffs.

Girls’ team nets two year sponsorship

It was all smiles at Melksham Town Football Club as the girls’ under 10s team proudly displayed their new away kits, courtesy of The Hills Group. The Wiltshire youth team, who are in their rookie year, will also use their new threads as training kits.

Hills has agreed to sponsor the girls over the next two seasons.

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Pictured left to right: Scratch the Wildcat, Sophia Hill, Mike Hill, Aaron Nell - Wildcats General Manager, Henry Hill and Joe Woodward.

The results

Joan gears up for retirement

After 13 years’ service, Joan Davies PA to the Chairman and Chief Executive said farewell to colleagues at Wiltshire House, before heading off to enjoy a well-earned retirement.

In our last issue we asked you what you thought of the latest intouch makeover. We wanted to know what you loved, what you wanted to see more of and what we could improve on in future magazines.

How do you rate the design of the new look intouch?

97% of you rated the design of the new look intouch as either ‘very good’ or ‘good.’

How do you rate the content of the new look intouch?

95% of you rated the content of the new look intouch as either ‘very good’ or ‘good.’

Cycling enthusiast Joan, will be spending more time out on the road, clocking up miles and exploring new places with her husband.

Chief Executive, Mike Hill said: “Joan has been an indispensable aid to Alan and I for the past 13 years and I would like to thank her for all her help. Her quiet efficiency, smile and can-do attitude will be much missed. We all wish her well for her retirement.”

Joseph bids farewell to finance friends

Joseph Hill has completed his nine-month placement with the finance team at County Park and has returned to complete his Banking and Finance degree at The University of the West of England.

How many copies of intouch would you like to see in a year?

64% of you said you’d like to see at least 3 editions of the magazine produced annually.

Are you happy with the amount of coverage your division receives?

69% of you said you were happy with the amount of coverage your division received.

Reflecting on his time working with the teams in Management Accounts, Credit Control and Purchase Ledger Joseph said: “Each department is unique, but all with lovely people. Some of my favourite jobs have been helping out making reports in accounts and doing the bank reconciliations for credit control. This placement has massively helped me as I now know not only what it is like to work in an office full time, but also what kind of tasks I can expect in a finance job.”

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O.K 3% Very Good 56% Good 41% O.K 5% Very Good 51% Good 44% 1 issue 5% 2 issues 31% 3 issues 64% Yes 69% No opinion 3% Not enough 28%
are in!
Joseph Hill (sat centre front) with members of the Finance team.

See your snaps in

Hills’ 2025 calendar

It could be a breathtaking view, a sensational street scene or even a photogenic pet – the brief is broad. We are looking for photos which capture all seasons, so look through your existing pics or get snapping and your photo could be gracing one of next year’s calendar pages.

Photographs must be your own, not the intellectual property of another person or organisation and should be 500Kb or larger and landscape.

Email your photos to

A warm Hills’ welcome

…to those employees who have joined since the last edition of intouch.

Aiden Meadows

Alex Mitchell

Alexander Chew

Amrik Singh

Andrew Johnson

Ben Gray

Benjamin Callaghan

Bradley Morris

Chloe-Lea Stebbing

Christine Kitching

Christopher Adams

Craig Lloyd

Danielle Rees

Darren Smith

Darren Goddard

Derek Berry

Emoke Stapleford

Erin Fisher

Fatmir Kurti

Francis Lofy

George Buckland

Haithem Boukhili

Jack Flanagan

Jack Saunders

Jill Jenkins

Kevin Barnes

Kieron Glastonbury

Kirsty Culley

Kyle Deadman

Laura Anderson

Lee Merrydew

Lewis Pyrah

Luke Court

Luke Power

Matthew Keen

Michael Andrews

Nathan Rivers

Neil Hansom

Nelson Akinbobola

Nigel Townsend

Paul Derrick

Peter Catt

Rebecca Simpkins

Reece Holmes

Rhys Hurren-Marshall

Richard Illidge

Richard Bevan

Russell Cook

Russell Gray

Samuel Woolford

Sean McPhillips

Steven Denness

Stuart Smith

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Pictured left are a selection of previous employee photo submissions.


The lucky winners of issue 53’s puzzle corner were David Trowell, Dion Francis and Laura Scrivens. David, Dion and Laura correctly completed either the Suduko or Wordsearch and went into our random draw to win one of three £50 Tesco gift cards.

We regularly update Hills’ social media channels with stories about the good work that we do as a business and in the community, so please connect with us to hear our news and share our content. Follow us today!

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Get social
competition winners!
1 8 6 1 7 4 3 9 6 6 6 2 9 6 8 5 4 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 8 6 7 2 3 1 1 4 4 3 3 3 6 6 6 3 2 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 2 2 2 2 2 5 7 4 9 9 9 9 3 1 1 8 8 8 9 9 9 1 1 1 They were in it and they won it... Hills is active on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube PARTNERSHIP AGGREGATE BUILDING ELECTRIC WASTE REUSE STARTER ROUTE LAKES AIRFIELD WONDER MAMMOTH
Pictured (left to right) David Trowell, Kerbside LGV Driver - Sands Farm; Dion Francis, Shift Supervisor - Northacre Resource Recovery Centre and Laura Scrivens, Sales SupervisorCounty Park. Here are the results:

Puzzle corner

Correctly complete the crossword below to be in with a chance of winning. All correct answers will go into a random draw to win one of three £50 Amazon gift cards.



3. Name of the centre Swindon Wildcats returned home to recently? (4 letters)

7. Hills has given millions to the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust through the _______ Communities Fund (LCF)? (8 letters)

8. Our partners for over two decades Community _____? (5 letters)

9. Bay Meadows is a new ______ Reserve? (6 letters)

11. The Hills calendar is produced every ____? (4 letters)


1. The Boys in the Boat film is about the ________ of Washington’s rowing team? (10 letters)

2. Type of aggregate to be extracted from Tubworth Quarry? (4 letters)

4. New eLearning training platform being rolled out by HR _______? (8 letters)

5. Name of the new IT helpdesk system? (4 letters)

6. Waste Solutions' new collection vehicle recently introduced in Bristol - Big ___ Junior? (4 letters)

10. Hills has sponsored the Melksham Town Football Club’s under 10s girls ____ kit? (4 letters)

Add your name and site location, then cut off this back page and send it via internal post to the communications and marketing department at County Park, Swindon.

Alternatively you can scan and email your answers to Your entry must be received by Friday 26 July 2024. Only one entry per employee.


Publishers Note

intouch is published by The Hills Group Limited. It is distributed to employees, pensioners, shareholders and friends of The Hills Group. Each copy of intouch is collated and mailed by Swindon charity Phoenix Enterprises who work with people recovering from short and long-term mental health problems

Issue No 55 will be published autumn 2024. Please submit news and photographs (if possible) to the communications and marketing department, either to the address opposite, by telephone 01793 714977 or via email to

The Hills Group Limited makes every effort to verify all information contained within intouch but does not warrant to its accuracy. No view or opinion expressed within intouch should be considered to be that of The Hills Group Limited, its associated companies or any director or officer in its employment. Please recycle your copy of intouch when you are finished with it.

@HillsGroup the_hills_group /HillsGroup TheHillsGroup The Hills Group Limited

The Hills Group Limited, Wiltshire House, County Park Business Centre, Shrivenham Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN1 2NR

Tel: 01793 781200

Email: Web:

Location: Enjoyment intouch 54 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
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