Amey spends almost £1m with social enterprises as new partnerships announced with Wild Hearts and Recycling Lives

Brian Donnelly, Press Officer
18 April 2018
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A year on from joining the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, Amey is announcing that it has spent almost £1m with social enterprises in 2017, as new partnerships are formed with Belu, Wild Hearts and Recycling Lives.

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is a ground-breaking initiative run by Social Enterprise UK that sees leading UK companies open up their supply chains to social enterprises, businesses which trade to meet a social or environmental mission. The aim of the challenge is for businesses to spend £1 billion with social enterprises.

Recognising the great impact social enterprises can make in the communities in which it operates, Amey had already been working with the likes of The Forward Trust (formerly BlueSky) and the Royal British Legion Industries. But in May 2017 it joined the challenge pledging to spend even more with these innovative businesses with a social purpose.

Since then, it has formed partnerships with Belu, who provide bottled water and channel all profits to WaterAid; Recycling Lives, who offer accommodation, education and training to homeless and the long-term unemployed; and Wild Hearts (pictured) , who provide office supplies while helping young people to develop business and employability skills.

In 2017, Amey spent £930,000 with social enterprises. This followed extensive work with Social Enterprise UK to identify new organisations for Amey to work with. Work is now under way to secure an even greater spend for 2018, in the hope that Amey accounts across the UK can work with social enterprises that help their local communities.

Amey’s Head of Social Impact Emily Davies said: “Amey’s goal is to create better places to live, work and travel. We do this directly through delivering our services but have the ability to increase our impact – bringing greater social value to communities in which we operate – if we partner with social enterprises in our supply chain.

Whilst we feel this is the right thing to do, it also helps us to respond to some of the social, economic and environmental challenges faced by our customers. Joining the Buy Social Corporate Challenge has focused our commitment, raised awareness to our employees and wider stakeholders, and provided the leadership platform and network that’s needed for organisations to work together and really make a difference.”

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “Businesses are increasingly being held to account by their customers and their staff over how they operate, who they work with and the impact they are having on society and the environment. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge has catalysed a movement of large companies who are using their core business spend to create real positive change in the communities they work in and around the world.

Amey has shown the impact and added value that can be created through working with social enterprises - whether that is creating jobs for some of the most vulnerable people in the UK or funding clean water projects overseas. We look forward to continuing to work with them to further build markets for social enterprises and encourage other companies to also take up the Challenge.”

Case study: The Forward Trust (formerly Blue Sky)

Forward empowers people to break the often interlinked cycles of addiction or crime to move forward with their lives. For more than 25 years they have been working with people to build positive and productive futures. They believe that anyone is capable of lasting change. Their services have supported thousands of people to make changes to create better lives with jobs, family, friends and a sense of community.

Amey has been working with Blue Sky since 2009 to employ ex-offenders. Over that time, Amey has co-created a highly innovative service model whereby Blue Sky provides Amey with an alternative to high-street labour agencies to deliver local authority services. Contracted by Amey to supply a proportion of its labour requirements, Blue Sky exclusively employs ex-offenders for (on average) 6 months to meet the need. Almost 25% of the people placed into jobs by Blue Sky are in Amey contracts.

Both organisations work together to identify contracts (household waste collection, materials recycling, grounds maintenance) where ex-offenders can be placed. Blue Sky recruits from the local community, working with probation services, prisons, Job Centre Plus, and community groups to identify candidates. Blue Sky pre-screens referred candidates on the ‘phone to discuss their past convictions, assess risk, and explain the roles available. They are then interviewed face-to-face. Successful candidates are supported in sourcing proof of ID, or opening bank accounts, and fully inducted on Health & Safety.

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