WATES plc | Seeing really is Believing!

iSE has been working in partnership with Wates plc over recent months and delivering a programme of ‘Seeing Is Believing’ social enterprise tours across the UK.


Wates plc, a family-owned private firm and leading construction provider, began its commitment to social enterprises in 2010. Since then Wates has spent more than £8.7m with social enterprises across a range of goods and services. Rachel Wolliscroft, Head of Sustainability, said, ‘Providing employment and training opportunities for groups struggling to find work was a core part of the firm’s sustainability plan, and that one of the ways we deliver that is through the engagement we have with the social enterprise sector’.

For every £1 spent with social enterprises, Wates has calculated there is a £1.77 return to society, mainly through of the employment and training opportunities that are delivered to those furthest removed from the labour market.

Through the Buy Social Corporate Challenge (launched at Downing Street, April 2016 by SEUK), Wates is looking to increase their spend in the social enterprise sector from £2.1m to a total of £20m by 2020.

Wates_Living_Space_-_Seeing_is_Believing_Cardiff[1]An important part of engaging with social enterprises was embedding the approach through its partnerships with the public and private sector. This is being delivered through Wates staff, customers and stakeholders taking part in social enterprises tours, organised and facilitated by iSE, in Northampton, Cardiff, London among various locations. These tours are providing the opportunity to understand social enterprise delivery models, see how social enterprise goods and services can meet supply chain needs and enable further marketplace development to support these trading relationships.

The results have been captured in a recently released Wates report from NEF Consulting, ‘Impact Evaluation of Wates’ relationship with Social Enterprises‘.

Sarah Crawley (iSE Chief Executive) said, ‘We are delighted to be working with Wates plc on the ‘Seeing is Believing’ visits to raise awareness of social enterprises and the great work they do in the Cardiff area, and beyond. iSE is 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 the Wates supply chain.

The social enterprise sector contributes over £24 billion to the UK economy each year and employs c.1,000,000 people* and is recognised as being innovative and responsive, therefore able to meet market needs and be sustainable, while delivering social impact and supporting the wider social mobility agenda that changes people’s lives for the better.’

You can read the case study from the London ‘Seeing Is Believing’ social enterprise tour here: Wates SIB Tour Case Study FINAL July 2017