Seeing is Believing was the ethos behind a recent social enterprise tour in South London where Wates Living Space and Wates Residential showcased the value of supporting local social enterprises to help drive increased value in the sector.
Working in partnership with social enterprise development organisation iSE, the tour introduced a number of local authorities and housing associations to a range of local social enterprises so they could find out more about the social value they can create when used as part of their supply chain.
Su Pickerill, Group Community Investment Manager at Wates, said:
“Social enterprises are an inspiring and important part of our society. The work they carry out not only makes them effective businesses that contribute £24bn* to the UK economy and employ over a million people, but they also extensively benefit the communities we work in.”
The first stop on the tour was the London Cooking Project. It provides catering services and delivers food based projects and events, while also creating opportunities to develop and nurture future talent for the food industry.
Next up was property guardian, Dot Dot Dot, which utilises empty buildings to provide suitable homes for volunteers, while protecting customer assets.
The tour also visited SMaRT Garages, which offers on-the-job training for disadvantaged people wanting to get back into work, and Abbevilles, a restaurant dedicated to helping people with learning disabilities find their feet in the workplace both deliver these services in association with First Step Trust.
The tour concluded with a presentation from ReVive, part of the homeless charity St Mungos, which aims to get homeless people work-ready by providing skills and employment training as well as opportunities to start work in a supported environment.
The transport used for the tour was provided by Hackney Community Transport.
Sarah Crawley, Chief Executive, iSE, commented:
“We are passionate about telling the story of not only the good stuff achieved by social enterprises but the real goods and services traded by social enterprise that mean they are valuable partners in businesses supply chains.
The Seeing is Believing tours are a great way to connect local businesses and social enterprises so they can discover how they can benefit each other.”
Leila Dottin, Partnerships Officer at Notting Hill Genesis Housing, attended the tour and said:
“The tour was a great way to see a range of different social enterprises that have taken a problem and built an innovative solution around it they have not only started up a trade, they have gone on to become successful businesses that are really giving something back.”
The tour was one of eight being held this year and forms part of Wates national commitment to support the social enterprise sector by trading £20m by 2020, supporting its commitment to Social Enterprise UKs Buy Social Corporate Challenge.