Wates Group

Posted by editor 27/03/2014 0 Comment 3630 views

Wates Group

‘Answers from Big Issue’ had a brief chance to catch up with Louise Hyde, Group Community Investment Manager from the Wates Group, following on from their scoop at the Social Enterprise UK awards ceremony last year November. Although the Wates Group are not actually a social enterprise within themselves, they work with a network of 30 social enterprises and this is what essentially lead to their win of the the ‘Market Builder’ award.

Initially launched in 1897, they are an independently owned family business.

They term their work with a network of social enterprises as a ‘sustainability network’. “We have a management programme for developing leaders and the idea to engage with social enterprises came from one of our employees on the programme. He had a family member that had a social enterprise business. That’s how it started,” explains Hyde.

The core essence of the programme is to purchase services and labour from social enterprises with the aim of increasing employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged persons. Construction and cleaning make up the majority of the work related activities purchased through trade from social organisations. “We won the ‘market builder’ award from social enterprise UK because of the initiative into our business to work with social enterprises as a part of our purchase and supply chain,” she adds.

By buying into the services of these organisations, the Wates Group hope that the financial turnover of the social enterprises that they trade with will increase significantly and that as a result of this, local communities will be impacted positively by increased opportunities for disadvantaged persons.

They have been trading with social enterprises since 2010. They recently launched the construction industry’s first brokerage system with Social Enterprise UK and have set a target of spending £5 million with social enterprises by 2-15. “We’re actively demonstrating that we are ‘buying social’ with our supply chain. Our vision plan is called ‘reshaping tomorrow’,” concludes Hyde.


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