Chris Richardson (founder and Managing Director) born in Ipswich, Ipswich being the home of Fisons Fertilisers and importantly Ransomes, one of the world’s best known lawn mower manufacturers.
Grass was always important to my family. My Grandfather used to repair mowers for the local community in his garage and my father always kept a striped and well-manicured lawn.
Being a keen sportsman at school rugby, football, hockey and athletics, grass “sports turf” was again close to my heart.
Following a recession in the nineties and years of L.A. management/ governance… Fair Funding was introduced, giving schools control of their budgets, I had a vision to improve the standards of their grounds and facilities, to raise the standards of both sports and premises. With a passion for presentation, service, and sports, along with my history of gardening for father at home, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. As an extension to my existing property business CPS Grounds was formed with just one school and one sports club (both of which we still maintain (Grange, Keynsham RFC).
With just one assistant, who is still with us today, a tractor and ride -on mower, we set out to deliver a personal and personable service, to make a difference and be proud of what we do.
I wanted to be able to walk down the local high street being proud as I bump into teachers, Heads and students from all our schools.
Education is a very close community, something that will quickly spread the news if you give good service, or conversely can soon leave a business without customers if you don’t!
Looking back, it was like a supernova as schools all sort independence..
From these very small beginnings, word soon spread within the close knit community and other schools were quick to solicit the service they’d long been looking for. Sports teachers were quick to appreciate the improvement to their classrooms and others could see the visual difference. Being passionate about sport and presentation along with wanting to do the best possible job, something which remains our core value today, the business was fast to grow with new schools joining at a challenging rate.
It’s fair to say there were some very long hours put in back then, disappointment and a poor customer experience were not an option, so however challenging it was, we managed to keep standards high, commitment and integrity are something our loyal schools appreciate.
It’s a partnership, both sides as we want the same result so I was soon to become a governor at my sons senior school, something I did for twelve years, learning to understand the limits and frustrations that state funded schools faced.
Having gained independence, schools began to understand that economies of scale and consistencies of standards, are better achieved by working together. We are now faced with schools gravitating back to clusters, Multi Academy trusts and we want to keep those values that have always been so important to us, personal service that benefits from our now established, experience and professional team.
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