This blog was written by Ian Vickers, Managing Director of Wates Construction Home Counties.

Wates Construction recently confirmed £313,010 of spend with social enterprises in the year to date from its Bedfordshire base in Luton. As MD of the Home Counties region, Ian Vickers discusses the role social enterprises play in building successful, sustainable communities when part of a local supply chain.

“Last year, Wates published a report* which found that every £1 spent with SEs generates £1.77 of social value. This means that investment in the sector from our Luton office has already created more than £554k of social value in 2018.

“As a main contractor, we manage our clients’ project budgets and this provides us with an important responsibility to invest money ethically and prudently. Trading with local businesses and organisations that support local communities is a powerful opportunity to make a difference.

“The Social Value Act of 2012 is based on this very notion and it is now being adopted across all industries, not just the public sector. At Wates, we’re committed to spending over £20m with SEs by 2020 as part of our position as a founding member of SEUK’s Buy Social Corporate Challenge and in Bedfordshire, we’ve eclipsed our 2018 goal by 109%. Activities have included committing 0.45% of supply chain spend to SEs as part of our construction of the new building at HMP Wayland and 0.22% as a part of the new squadron headquarters at RAF Marham.

“The means that purpose-led businesses including Commercial Office Supplies and Recycling Lives are now part of Wates’ supply chain. Commercial Office Supplies donates 20% of profits generated to the social enterprise it established, Commercial Foundation, which in turn creates opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Meanwhile, Recycling Lives uses its recycling and waste management operations to directly support and sustain a number of charity programmes. These include offering food redistribution to charities and providing rehabilitation and services to tackle homelessness. In 2017, Wates spent £654,000 with the SE which helped it to deliver 16,400 meals to those in need.

“Our partnerships with social enterprises ensure the projects we deliver result in a positive impact upon society but let’s not also forget, the sector contributes over £24bn to the UK economy every year. So it’s good business sense for them to form part of our supply chains and this is why Wates offices up and down the country have collectively traded over £3m with the sector so far this year. The goods and services they provide places them as extremely valuable partners to us and our clients. 

“We’re therefore extremely proud to champion the SE sector and the social value they generate for our communities and I wholeheartedly encourage more businesses to do so. The more companies that join us supporting the social mobility agenda, the bigger the impact we can have in helping change lives for the better.”

*Impact Evaluation of Wates’ Relationship with Social Enterprises – Wates Group, May 2017.


For further information please contact Truth PR: 

Lisa French / 0161 238 9820 / 

Notes to Editors

Wates Construction

Wates Construction has a long track record of providing more for less to its clients across both the public and private sectors. Working on projects across a variety of different areas, including education, commercial, heritage, local authority frameworks and mixed-use, Wates Construction specialises in maximising value by finding the most intelligent and creative ways to deliver outstanding buildings.

About the Wates Group

The Wates Group, established in 1897, is one of the leading privately owned construction, development and property services businesses in the UK. It employs approximately 4,000 people and generated turnover of £1.62bn in 2017. Wates was named Construction News’ Contractor of the Year in 2017; Building Magazine’s Major Contractor of the Year in 2016 and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for the second time. Wates was the first large contractor ever to be awarded Business in the Community’s Community Mark and in 2013 was awarded the inaugural National Business Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of its leadership and excellence in community investment. In 2017 Wates was named Organisation of the Year at the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards.

Wates is committed to the long-term future of the built environment and to leaving a positive legacy for the communities in which we work and live.

Follow us on Twitter @WatesGroup