Personal empowerment

Human Capital logo


The Human capital relates to the application of a people-centric approach considering the diversity of human experiences to create a culture of inclusivity and balance.

Why it matters

Our aim is to create distinctive spaces that enhance physical and mental health, improve quality of life and cultivate successful communities. Starting with land acquisition and consolidation through planning and delivery we always operate with human needs in mind.

This translates into key areas of action including the delivery of opportunities for leading an active lifestyle and supporting healthy eating habits, whilst continuously monitoring and seeking to improve the manner in which we deliver health and safety on our sites, both through our direct and indirect contracts. We also invest in learning and training opportunities for our employees to ensure they feel empowered, supported and proud to be working for Urban&Civic in the long-term, strengthening our business longevity and resilience.

Action areas

  • Wellbeing
  • Health & Safety
  • Commitment to lifelong learning


Health and wellbeing

We seek to deliver development sites which promote physical activity, active living and good mental and physical health, all of which are central to the idea of cultivating human capital. We will also seek to develop bespoke wellbeing strategies for each site, responding to specific context and needs, and expanding on opportunities around physical and mental health. Likewise, we will continue working with our housebuilder partners to promote the evaluation and improvement of environmental conditions in dwellings.


2025 target: 

  • All our sites with over 200 homes occupied have a robust biannual survey in place which records residents’ sense of quality of life and health and wellbeing.


In 2020/21, we collaborated with the Quality of Life Foundation to develop an initiative to support our communities reflect on aspects of their day to day lives. We worked together to develop, promote and deliver a robust Resident Review Survey, with Office for National Statistics  benchmark questions included against each theme to enable a comparison with the national average. In 2022/23, this survey was also undertaken at Newark and Wintringham.

The detailed findings of the surveys will be developed into an action plan for each site to be shared with residents. This is part of our commitment to building a continued engagement cycle with residents, shaping and influencing the development around them and ensuring we continue to improve our places and put the community at the heart of that process. We have also committed to repeating the surveys every two years to ensure we can continue to monitor the outcomes, and create truly empowered, sustainable and healthy communities. We will re-survey the strategic sites that were part of the initial Quality of Life pilot study – Alconbury, Priors Hall and Rugby during the course of 2023/24.

Action Area 1 Health and wellbeing- Quality of life

Graph showing percentage of sites in 2022/23 where the results from a health and wellbeing survey informed resident engagement.

Improving health and safety

Nothing is more important than keeping our employees, contractors, residents and visitors safe, and meeting the highest health and safety standards is essential to the continued success of our business and the communities we are developing. At the same time, health and wellbeing is one of the three universal challenges that we believe must be addressed through sustainable development. We are committed to the concept of a “safety culture” which we believe to be the cornerstone of safe and sustainable development.


2025 target: 

  • All U&C directly employed contractors and housebuilders who are on-site for at least four months within a financial year and active and reporting H&S statistics to achieve a minimum average monthly score of 4 out of 5 under the U&C Health & Safety Engagement and Performance Monitoring Tool (5 Star System) – target score reducing to 3.5 out of ‘stars’ for 2023/24.


In 2022/23, a new Health and Safety metrics, monitoring housebuilders’ health and safety performance together with their engagement in delivering our health and safety objectives whilst also fully including our directly engaged contractors. Therefore, we decided to move away from directly linking performance to the number of house completions and developed our “Five Star” engagement programme. Both housebuilders and directly engaged contractors are monitored monthly against five criteria:

  1.  Undertaking a minimum of one “Safety Pause” or similar in-house review of the health and safety conditions on site,
  2. Achieving only minor observations and no repeat items on Urban&Civic’s monthly independent health and safety report,
  3. Providing a close out report to the Urban&Civic monthly health and safety review demonstrating the actions undertaken,
  4. Having good practice identified on the monthly health and safety report, and
  5. Attendance at the monthly health and safety consortium meeting.

In 2022/23, the average score was 2.7 out of 5. To improve on this, housebuilder engagement will be prioritised by site teams and the target score will be reduced to 3.5 going forward. This will ensure that whilst remaining a challenging target, the level of achievability will be increased for contractors.

Improving health and safety during housebuilder activities

Graph showing average monthly 5-Star System scores.

Commitment to lifelong learning

Investing in colleagues’ ongoing professional development is key to ensuring they feel valued, challenged and motivated to do their best work. We recruit, train and develop people for the long term, and the Company places strong emphasis on lifelong learning. We believe that everybody should pursue the improvement of knowledge, skills and competencies, and that this in turn enhances personal growth, self-sustainability and business performance.


2025 target: 

  • 95% of employees to undertake at least ten hours of non-mandatory Company provided or sponsored learning, training or professional study per year


Performance against this metric significantly improved in 2022/23 with 95% of employees undertaking non-mandatory company provided or sponsored learning, training or professional study compared to 75% in the previous year and currently meeting the 2025 target. This was achieved through a combination of providing regular internal ‘lunch n learn’ training on relevant topics and encouraging employees to attend these sessions and those provided externally. We also emphasised to employees the importance of recording any relevant learning or training attended as this has previously contributed to not meeting the target in previous years. 

Commitment to lifelong learning- Learning and development of our people

Graph showing the percentage of staff undertaking a minimum of ten hours non-mandatory training courses during the 2020/21 to 2022/23 reporting periods

Case studies

A bumper harvest of interest in Houlton’s first crop of allotments

October saw Houlton, Rugby deliver 39 brand new allotments to some lucky green fingered residents.

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It's all about the quality of life

Our journey to ensure our new communities support and drive health and wellbeing can be traced back to early engagement with Sport England on Active Design principles for Alconbury Weald and Houlton; and developed as NHS England reviewed the learnings from Healthy New Town pilots, which we were hungry to draw into future design and activation for our new communities. 

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Catesby’s Commitment to Education

Working with the next generation of farmers, landowners and land agents the Catesby team has developed strong links with Harper Adams University and The Royal Agricultural University (RAU), hosting presentations and Q&A sessions with students studying Land and Property Management and Real Estate and Rural Land Management respectively.  

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Local community discovers Wintringham’s past

Urban&Civic teamed up with Oxford Archaeology East and St Neots Museum to help residents and local communities discover what life would have been like for our ancient ancestors living in the area during the Iron Age and early Roman period.

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Alconbury Weald residents embrace new activities

Alconbury Weald has been designed with health and wellbeing at its core. It is also part of the Living Sport’s Active New Communities initiative, which encourages people to make positive choices and take up sports and activities as they settle into their new home.

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Empowering our people to cut greenhouse gas emissions

As part of our ongoing commitment to educating on carbon, we have engaged Groundwork to deliver carbon literacy training to our colleagues and have an ambition to provide this accredited learning to at least 80 per cent of our employees by June 2022.

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Walking groups

Urban & Civic in partnership with Sustrans have been organising weekly led walks through Middlebeck, Newark with the aim of encouraging an active lifestyle. Our Community Engagement Officer wanted the walks to be a fun and sociable activity for people who want reap the benefits of exercise. 

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Community Use Agreement

Our approach specified that five years on from the opening of the school, the mix of use would be one third reserved for the Houlton Community, one third reserved for external organisations to provide activity to the Houlton Community, with the final third is for commercial organisations outside of Houlton who may wish to use the space.

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Inspirational play spaces encourage children to explore

Alconbury Weald has a fantastic array of play areas, inspired by the site’s heritage and natural environment, and designed to encourage children to explore, be active and let their imagination run wild.

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Putting care at the district heart of the community

Priors Hall Park is the first of our sites to open a luxury 66 bed care home, located next to the district centre with views overlooking the amphitheatre and gulley wildlife site.

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Youth Games return to the Amphitheatre

In July, around 150 people flocked to the development’s amphitheatre to enjoy a range of fun-filled activities for young people, provided by local partners.

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Gulley opening unlocks nature trail for residents

Priors Hall Park’s residents have a new way to stay healthy and appreciate the wildlife on their doorstep as ‘The Gulley’, its 25 acre nature reserve and county wildlife site has been completed and is now open to walk through.

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Green skills remain a part of the landscape at Wintringham

Volunteers taking part in Groundwork’s latest Green Team project spent four weeks building, installing and planting pots and planters along Pelham Road and outside the new Urban&Civic office.

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A motivational support for the Newark Half Marathon

Middlebeck sponsored the Newark Half Marathon for a third year in 2022 (with a short break during the pandemic, where the event was paused).

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Calling all cycling smoothies

The long awaited launch of the Middlebeck cycle hub was a huge success in July, with local residents attending from across Newark to get their bike serviced and to participate in the celebrations.

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Volunteer Day

Community volunteering goes wild in Newark with the conclusion of U&C's first volunteering month.

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Getting to know your neighbours, past and present, by supporting the Farmland Museum

Urban&Civic’s Waterbeach team recently helped support the Farmland Museum’s exhibition which was on display within Denny Abbey, just north of the Waterbeach development, which formed part of their Autumn programme to bring visitors into the important heritage attraction.

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What a way to Make your Mark

Waterbeach hosted its first Make Your Mark event in October which was designed to promote the wide range of careers and opportunities available for women in the development, property and built environment industries and to inspire them to follow a career in these fields.

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Community and heritage at the heart of a new place

The strong community and heritage focus at Waterbeach continued in July with the Waterbeach Feast and the reunion of 514 Squadron at the former Barracks and Airfield.

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Urban&Civic and Catesby come together in a new office at Houlton

2022 saw the relocation of the Houlton Project Team and the Head Office of Catesby Estates, to the newly constructed Orchard House, an office space in the heart of Dollman Farm, close to the The Tuning Fork and directly above Houlton’s Co-Op.

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Hands on help for our communities

U&C’s first corporate volunteering month saw over 50 employees getting out into our communities, supporting local projects and learning new skills whilst also giving employees the chance to work with team members from across our sites and business functions.

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An Away Day in In-tents conditions

The 2022 Employee Away Day was the first two day full team event since 2019. 

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