Following the news that G4S was unable to fulfil its role in the supply of security staff for the London Olympics just a few weeks before the games began, the Government arranged for 3,500 military personnel to step in.

The troops required special briefings and training and it fell to Prince William of Gloucester Barracks at Grantham to host the training.

During a six-week period in June and July 2012, troops were drafted in to Grantham. Elior, which holds the barrack’s catering and cleaning contracts, was called upon to cater for the additional demand with no prior warning of how many personnel to expect at any given time.

The Quartermaster at Grantham, Lt. Col. R. Brown said:  “The last 6 months has seen Grantham ramp up from normal daily business in support of two major UK contingency operations.  Throughout the period there were many VIP visits and all commented on the calm leadership, ingenuity and positive attitude of the staff. Despite the changes and constraints we have placed against Elior at short notice, they have remained proactive, flexible and professional throughout.  Perhaps the best example of the ‘partnering relationship’, working as it was intended, that I have seen for many a year.  Awesome performance and many thanks.”

In a dining facility designed to accommodate 350 diners, numbers fluctuated between 250 and 1500 on any given day. The Elior team rose to the challenge, quickly taking on additional staff from the local area and planning in overtime for existing workers.

This was in addition to hosting a Summer Ball half way through the training period, which consisted of a special hot and cold banquet for officers and their partners in the officers’ mess.

The accommodation cleaning staff also played a vital part in the proceedings, increasing their regime to provide a seven-day week service keeping barrack blocks clean and tidy for the visiting troops.

Charles Harkin, general manager East Midlands, Elior, concludes: “All the staff at Grantham have been hugely committed to the success of this operation.  It has been an Olympian effort by them all.  To pick out anybody for individual praise here is virtually impossible.  Everyone in the team has been professional, supportive, and has displayed flexibility beyond the norm.  They really went the extra mile to support the unit so it could carry out its primary role.”