Social enterprises trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or promote a better environment.
The event was aimed at identifying more local businesses we can buy from that benefit the communities where we operate in the South-East, and in London; it enables us to not only ensure they connect with Wates, but also make important connections with other companies in the construction industry. Running networking events like this supports our approach of looking beyond ‘bricks and mortar’, and to focus on supporting the development of sustainable communities. This means generating social value and putting local needs at the heart of every development.
As a values-based, family business, Wates Group takes a long-term perspective; our ‘Creating Opportunities’ strategy includes commitments to supporting and scaling social enterprises. This includes a cumulative spend target of £45m with the sector by 2025.
Over 50 social enterprises and nine buyers attended the event, and in the weeks and months to come, I’m looking forwards to seeing the connections that have been made to benefit local communities around our housing developments such as Gascoigne West Phase 1 in Barking and the 12 Estates regeneration programme in Havering. It will be great to see the results of bringing profits back into these areas and employing local people.
We’d like to do more to help social enterprises link up with major businesses like us, so if you are a social enterprise that has a service to offer or if you’re a buyer who wants to find out more about working with social enterprises, get in touch or take a look at the Supply Change platform to find out more.
Michelle McSorley is Community Investment Manager for Wates Residential. In 2020, Wates Group spent £7.6m through social enterprises, as part of its long-term commitment to supporting the sector.