THE National Trust has reaffirmed its commitment to Swindon by announcing a revamp of its Heelis headquarters. 

The charity's growing membership has seen staff numbers almost double in the 14 years since the office on Kemble Drive – which takes the married name of Beatrix Potter – was built. 

It now employs 850 people at the site, compared with 430 in 2005. Currently, around 150 Trust employees work at rented premises around the town, but these plans will see them all housed under one roof at a building considered to be one of the UK's greenest office spaces.

Tina Lewis, director of people and legal services, said the move is set to open up new job opportunities in the town.
“To accommodate more people, some of which are based at another office in Swindon, and to allow colleagues from across the country to be better connected, we are reconfiguring our Heelis office and upgrading our technology so it fits our needs now and for the future," she explained.

“To support the increasing demand from more visitors, we’ve invested in more staff to ensure the 26 million people who visit our properties every year have the best possible experiences. 

"These colleagues are supported by a growing number of staff at Heelis, our central office. This creates growing demands on office space, as well as a need to invest in new technology to support how people work today, and we need to look at how best to use what we have.”

“At a time when employment in the area is facing considerable challenge, this investment also underlines the Trust’s commitment to keeping its central office in Swindon.”
Work will begin early in 2020 and the changes include plans to build more toilets, improve lighting, drainage, IT and to improve the Wi-Fi. 

Christian Lockyer, senior communications manager, said: “It’s much better to bring these teams together. 
"When the building opened, the iPhone wasn’t out and so our technology is outdated and so this will be one of the updates we will make.”

“Things are changing all the time and whilst we are trying to stay with the times, we want to also stay traditional.”
The cost of the refit has not been revealed, while some of the plans have still to be confirmed by the council. It is expected to be complete next summer.