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Meet the team behind one of our biggest MOD contracts

Colchester Garrison

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Military precision at Colchester

With 130 buildings on site and 3,500 military personnel, it’s no surprise that Sodexo’s contract with the MOD at Colchester Garrison is one of our biggest. Whether it’s providing great food at every mealtime, running special functions, checking fire systems, cutting the grass, helping with fitness training, or even polishing shoes, we’ve got it covered.

Sodexo provides:

  • Soft services: catering, cleaning, quartermaster services, accommodation, retail, security, leisure, furniture supply, hotel (mess) services, accountancy, transport and fuel, training support, office support services, pest control, laundry, dry cleaning, tailoring and footwear repair.

  • Technical services: planned and reactive maintenance, lifecycle management and replacement, mechanical, electrical, building and civil trade project work, waste management, grounds maintenance and a helpdesk.

Meet the team

Click on the images below to read some of the interviews with members of the team at the site:

Rachel Layzell, PA to Garrison Commander

  Julie Cowie, Services Manager – Officers’ Mess

Meet Charlotte White, Steward - Officers’ Mess


Charlotte WhiteCharlotte White, Steward - Officers’ Mess

A typical day here in the Officers’ Mess centers around ensuring that our clients are fed and well looked after. From 0830hrs until 1630hrs it is our role to serve breakfast and lunch to anything from 80 to 200 officers. We also cater for up to 20 functions and special events every month. The front-of-house team has eight stewards and four supervisors and the team spirit is like no other – the atmosphere is always brilliant! ‘We are one team and we share the love’ is our team quote.

We have unique challenges here in that we have five messes in one building, catering for different regiments. Sometimes we might find that we have two functions on the same night for different messes which can be a challenge. We are proud of the way we do things, always delivering excellent service.”

Rachel LayzellRachel Layzell, PA to Garrison Commander

Flexibility, discretion, consistency and integrity are the key qualities you need for my role, as I could be dealing with sensitive and confidential situations. As the first point of contact for the Commander my daily schedule includes processing calls, sending emails, booking accommodation, arranging and prepping meetings, organising visits, typing letters, dealing with service complaints, booking lunches and many other administrative duties.

As the Commander changes every two to three years it keeps the job fresh and I enjoy working with different personalities. The way they like to work can also differ, so it’s nice to have the challenge to adapt. My efforts do get noticed and when you feel appreciated it really means a lot. The military environment is different to the civilian community and this is always something to consider when dealing with outside organisations. However I have been in this environment for over 11 years now so I know the job well and things come naturally.

Julie CowieJulie Cowie, Services Manager – Officers’ Mess

I believe you have to love what you do, and I do! I once received a letter from a Lieutenant Colonel to say that, while he was posted to us, it was the only time in his Army career that he had felt he had a home. That made the team extremely proud. Working in a mess is unique and steeped in tradition. There a very few places that capture the friendship and camaraderie we experience here – the mess members live, train, and celebrate together and we are part of that. So for example, when you see a function come to fruition it gives you an immense sense of pride to see what your team has produced.

It is my role to oversee all services for the five messes here, building a working relationship with our client and gaining a full understanding of the traditions and making sure we capture the ethos. Our team spirit is amazing – the team really cares about each other and wants to drive the business forward. Each member of my team has become multi-skilled so can assist in all areas in the building to help us deliver day in, day out. Developing the team is very important to me – I like to see the potential in everyone and I get an immense sense of pride when I’m able to see the potential unlocked and someone flourish and develop their careers with Sodexo. This makes my job worthwhile!

  • Meet more members of the Colchester team in the Autumn issue of Stars magazine, out now!

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