Volunteers planting trees in the IBCC gardens


The IBCC has, from the outset, tried to be an ethical community project.  The site has been built to minimise our impact on the environment and continues to keep measures in place to reduce waste and emissions and to source locally.  Some of the key elements are detailed below.


When going through the tendering process we looked in particular for construction companies that had the following:

  • A policy for locally sourcing their building products
  • A policy for environmental and waste management
  • A policy of recruiting and training young people from the local area
  • A strong background in community engagement

The centre was built to be as sustainable and as low energy using as possible with the inclusion of solar panels, K Glass on all windows and air source heating.  This ethos extends to the gardens which we have planted to over 4,000 native trees and shrubs, the introduction of wildflower and wild grass gardens and the use of recycled gravel for the drive and car parks.

All paving areas utilise semi-permeable block paving and we introduced a system of french drains around the site, minimising flood risk and damage.

All lighting on site uses low energy LED bulbs which have been tested by ecologists to manage their impact on the environment and wildlife.

We have provided two pedestrian gates, one linked to the South Common and the Viking Way footpath and the other to a bus stop to encourage the use of alternatives to cars.

Our business is passionate about the environment! We have taken steps to reduce our energy consumption, lowering our carbon emissions for our local community. As a business we have invested in Solar PV. This will make a huge difference to the environment and this is just the start of our sustainable journey.

Since opening we have added electrical car charging points and doubled the number of cycle racks, having participated in the Cycle England project and increased our solar panels from 18 to 72.

The gardens are now home to a wide range of wildlife including mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.  We have 4  endangered species of birds nesting in the grounds of the centre (Sky Larks, Mistle Thrushes, English Partridges and Tawny Owls).  We also have Buzzards, Red Kites, Hedgehogs, Hares, a Grass Snake or two and a family of Foxes resident in the gardens.   To protect our wildlife, we have introduced guidance for dog walkers, built a bug hotel, using branches found on site, installed 24 bird boxes of various sizes and built shelters for other creatures away from public areas.

The gardens have been designed to attract insects including bees.  These insects in turn are encouraging a wide range of bird life.

During COVID, using CRF funding, we built our Dig For Victory Gardens, which not only limit food miles by growing food for our kitchens, but also provide a valuable addition to our learning programme where we explain about rationing, what foods were generally grown and why and all about the allotments that covered the IBCC site in WW2.  The area has also enabled more volunteers and community groups to become involved in our IBCC Gardening Club, providing fresh air, exercise and new friends.  Last year these gardens provided over 20% of the herbs, fruit and vegetables needed for the kitchens.

In 2022 to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. we created the Jubilee Grove with 70 native trees.  In early 2023, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire planted one of the trees from The Jubilee Tree of Trees as part of Her Majesty’s Green Canopy. This has brought the number of trees and shrubs planted since we took on the site to over 4,000!

Spire from International Garden


The project has always had a community focus, demonstrated by the large number of volunteers involved (over 450 volunteers).  This ethos extends to working with groups such as Youth Offenders, the Probation Service, Prince’s Trust, Duke of Edinburgh and local schools to provide work placements, providing real life experience in heritage, retail, site management and tourism.  So far we have hosted 131 individuals through this scheme.

Volunteers are encouraged to get involved with creating habitats in the gardens and looking after them.  This has included CSR days for a range of local businesses and groups.  Prince’s Trust ran a project for NEETS based around the planting in the International Peace Garden.

Our volunteers have access to a huge range of courses and training from Tour Guiding to First Aid, from Barista training to producing archival metadata.  Over the last 5 years of the project we have provided over 1,900 training opportunities.  To find out about becoming a volunteer, click here

In addition, we run a community choir and orchestra who have had opportunities to perform at major events at the centre, including the televised opening.  The project funds the Music Director and provides rehearsal space and refreshments.  They now include 96 performers of all ages and backgrounds. The IBCC Music team now perform in theatres and schools across the county in addition to their events at the Centre.

Before opening the Centre the project had welcomed over 20,000 people to the site through a programme of Open Days and tours.  People were able to watch the progress of the build from the site.

Our Learning Team are active in the community too, going into schools and creating mobile pop up exhibitions enabling more people to learn about Bomber Command.  Our Engagement team can be seen around the country talking to groups and associations about the work of the Command and the history of the project.  Anything from after dinner speaking to full lectures have enabled over 75,000 people to engage with their heritage.

The project incorporates two free to access research resources, which are available for everyone to use via the web site.  These now hold over 6 million pieces of data or records and interviews.

The IBCC Losses DatabaseThe IBCC Digital Archive


The project has always sourced locally, from the construction, to the stocking of the café and the shop. 68% of the companies who have supplied the centre are based in the county and include a range of micro businesses, SMEs and large corporations. When selecting suppliers, we only source out of county when a product or service cannot be found within in Lincolnshire.

In an effort to become carbon neutral, we have installed a range of policies covering everything from the the use of recyclable paper products in the shop and café, including bags and food service boxes, to the use of recycled paper for all office printing.

Staff who have responsibility for stock are charged with sourcing local suppliers and looking for those companies that trade ethically and sustainability.  These roles have this target as KPIs in their job outlines.

We have taken this so seriously that we have established our Dig For Victory gardens which are enabling us to grow produce for use in the Hub Café kitchen.  Whilst it will not be able to supply all the vegetables and fruit we use, it will make an impact on food miles and you won’t get much fresher salad!

International Bomber Command Centre