BLOG: Supporting our colleagues - Community investment begins at home | Wates

‘It’s in our culture!’

“There is a really strong culture for giving back at Wates and I’ve really enjoyed the past few months of getting to know the teams and seeing their genuine enthusiasm for making a positive difference. Before joining Wates I worked as a Community Investment Manager within the industry, leading on community engagement activities. I’ve built a career developing and delivering meaningful ways to positively affect people’s lives and I am so proud to have become part of a team with a community investment commitment that runs as deep as Wates’.

‘Housing repairs is an opportunity to make a difference.’

I started my career as a Resident Liaison Officer and as a frontline service you meet and build relationships with residents. They become our neighbours; they benefit from the work that we do but they also have to accommodate repairs and maintenance within their homes and so being respectful of their needs is essential. This experience gave me an invaluable grounding for the role I do now. I learned the value of being kind, being empathetic and supportive and these are the cornerstones of community investment.

With the Social Value Act 2012 there is a great emphasis on creating social and economic benefits through our work but nevertheless it’s my belief that a large contractor such as Wates is given a massive opportunity to pass on skills and utilise its huge resource to create local employment and training. This is fundamental but I think there’s another very significant aspect to community investment that is often overlooked – our team. We are, to all intents and purposes, a community ourselves and so if we want to do good for the outside world that has to begin at home.

‘Our team’s passion for our community makes me so proud’

Engaging with our communities is arguably one of the most rewarding parts of the work we do and this feeling of pride mostly comes from seeing how happy, motivated and inspired it makes people whether this is when they train with us or if we volunteer to help them with a community project. But I find even more rewarding than this is seeing the effect it has on our teams. They have a day job to do and understandable pressures on their time and so it can be tricky to ask them to make time for social value in their busy schedules. But every single one of them does and that’s really special. Seeing my colleagues interact with the community and to know that I helped facilitate this is so rewarding.”

AUTHOR: Eddie Warren, Community Investment Manager for Wates Living Space

Eddie Warren, Community Investment Manager for Wates Living Space in the South joined the business in March this year and has spent four months getting under the skin of Wates’ far reaching ethos to give back to its local communities.

Eddie shares his thoughts on community investment and what it takes to engrain social value within a business’ culture.