Clear Futures supports long-term mentoring programmes for girls in Liverpool

Clear Futures is working with Girls Out Loud in Liverpool which is a social enterprise to deliver ‘The Big Sister mentoring programme’ over a 12-month period, running from 2024 to 2025. The programme provides life-changing mentoring support, focusing on themes such as personal identity, role models, career advice, improving confidence self-esteem self-respect and emotional resilience during their challenging teenage years.

hours volunteering
Social value add
122 girls
Supported long term

Two mentors from Clear Futures strategic partners Robertson and AECOM, have volunteered to support The Big Sister Programme due to start in July 24 with girls from St Julies Catholic School in the city.

Clear Futures is committed to driving long-term social change through the work all its strategic partnerships and the aims of Girls Out Loud align perfectly with this ethos. Having someone to talk to and guide them through this frame-breaking time when their identity is taking shape, can make a huge difference to their lives in the long term.

Clear Futures Supply Chain Partner, Seddon Construction, attended the ‘Role Model Relay’ event in January 2024, which catered for up to 120 girls from St Julie’s Catholic High School in Liverpool. Inspiring female role models shared their amazing journeys and provided interaction through a structured, supportive speed mentoring format.

Watch the video below to find out more about Girls Out Loud Big Sister programme.

The Big Sister mentoring programme targets the girls who sit in the middle of the cohort and simply cruise and are in danger of becoming invisible as they are neither seriously disruptive, nor super academically gifted. They struggle to find their place and often get lost in the noise and either hide in the corner or look for validation in all the wrong places. At Girls Out Loud we understand these girls very well and believe they have the potential to be shining stars. They are the managers, leaders and entrepreneurs of the future and with some investment from a team of awesome role models to light the way they will learn to believe in themselves, find their voice, step up and shine.

Girls Out Loud

Wellsprings project ‘presents an excellent positive image of the industry’

The Bolton office refurbishment project underwent an assessor visit by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS), resulting in Robertson Construction North West being awarded a perfect site score.

The CCS assessor visit is conducted against the Code of Considerate Practice, comprising three categories: ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Protect the Environment’ and ‘Value their Workforce’.

Categories are scored out of 15, and of the 45 available, the team received a faultless score of 45.

Within the monitor’s report, the site was praised for presenting ‘an excellent positive image of the industry’ and for the team’s efforts in attaining spotless scores in each of the three assessed categories.

Respect the Community

The site was commended for its consideration for the local community through having regular contact with stakeholders and a social value plan that will provide benefits long after the project is complete. This includes hosting mental health talks on-site, fundraising for charities and engaging with local schools and colleges.

Protect the Environment

Utilising the Environmental Management System, the site has mitigated waste and ensured positive environmental performance of the project.

Value their Workforce

With diligent skill and safety checks, flexible individual working practices with a focus on inclusion and diversity, and excellent facilities, the assessor described ‘an excellent, well maintained and supportive workplace’.

As a responsible constructor, we ensure that the successful projects we deliver have the community, environment and our team at the fore. It is excellent that the CCS has recognised our consistent efforts and commitment of ensuring best practice. Congratulations and thank you to the Wellsprings project team.

Robertson North West Regional Managing Director Dirk Pittaway

Bolton Central Library receives award

We are delighted to announce that the Bolton Central Library received the bronze award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme awards in Manchester.

With its reopening in January 2024, the Library has entered a new chapter following a £4.4m transformation by Robertson Group North West on behalf of Clear Futures.

The Grade II-listed building now provides new creative and cultural spaces that modernise and adapt it to meet changing user requirements and serve the wider needs of the community.

Congratulations to all the teams involved for their contributions. It’s great to see the library being recognised on a regional level.

Bolton Central Library project delivers £500k in social value

With its reopening in January, Bolton Central Library has entered into a new chapter following a £4.4m transformation by Robertson Construction North West on behalf of Clear Futures for Bolton Council, while delivering £500k in social value.

Built in the 1930’s and part of the wider Bolton Museum, Archives and Aquarium, the library underwent a restoration and refurbishment to provide new creative and cultural spaces that modernise and adapt the building to meet changing user requirements and serving the wider needs of the community.

While reading, book borrowing and library fundamentals remain, the new spaces focus on users’ priorities, including digital facilities, education and employment information, business support, cultural and creative activities, and health and wellbeing.

The Grade 2 listed building benefits from the provision of additional mezzanine level floor spaces, a new café, and upgraded children and adult library spaces. The project has created a flexible central library plaza space, providing the opportunity for events such as performances, author visits and storytelling alongside a welcoming space for a variety of local community and wellbeing groups.

Committed to creating a meaningful and lasting legacy through community wealth building, Robertson delivered over half a million pounds of social value. This was achieved through using local supply chain, where possible, employing 17 local people, three trainees and 10 apprentices. Robertson supported the Council’s ‘Building Future Skills in Construction Bolton Programme’ by providing work placements to support participants in getting work-ready. Bolton College and local schools also benefited from career sessions and construction-based educational activities.

As part of a Clear Futures Community Neighbourhood Project, Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene was selected to benefit from a refurbishment to its kitchen and new youth and community spaces, valued at £10k.

The centre provides modern, multi-use and welcoming youth space and an inclusive, safe place for the community to meet. The new kitchen area has enabled the community outreach programme to expand and offers much-needed support to local residents by delivering cookery education classes, raising awareness of healthy eating and food hygiene. It now provides facilities for families to come together to cook healthy meals in a safe place and signposts people towards college food training courses. 

Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director, Robertson Construction North West, said: “Bolton Central Library’s transformation is greatly enriching users’ experience since its official opening. The high-quality cutting-edge spaces foster creativity, learning and community engagement.

“The library plays such an important role for the community and is a treasured part of Bolton’s history and heritage. Which is why throughout the project we remained respectful of the building’s unique character, making sure that authentic, architectural features remained.

“The transformation delivered by this project goes beyond the building and was far reaching into the local community.”

Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Deputy Leader, Bolton Council, said:“Regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar, it is about improving the lives of our residents by offering better services, experiences, and opportunities.

“The newly renovated Bolton Library is a perfect example of this, creating a modern, versatile, and welcoming space that offers something for all ages.

“Alongside the many benefits of the physical refurbishment, Robertson and Clear Futures have worked with us to support the wider community, create new jobs and boost skills.”

Funded by the Towns Fund scheme led by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, Bolton Central Library is one of many projects being delivered for Bolton Council through a strategic partnership with Clear Futures, a long-term procurement and management vehicle for the UK public sector.

Keith Edwards, Bolton Partnership Director, Clear Futures, commented: “Delivering sustainable solutions to the built environment with expertise, efficiency and value, Clear Futures is proud to support the public sector in strengthening communities. “Bolton Council is a valued strategic partner with a desire to drive economic and social growth, while providing quality services and facilities for the community it serves, which are epitomised by the magnificent Bolton Central Library project.”

Tackling homelessness in Liverpool 

Clear Futures supported Liverpool’s leading homeless and housing charity during Christmas 2023 with 52 hours of volunteering and a £1200 cash donation. 

Volunteers from Clear Futures along with Seddon and Robertson Construction (Tier 1 Supply Chain Partners) came together to support the charity’s Donation and Essential Items Provision Service. Donning Christmas hats and impersonating Santa’s little helpers, volunteers rolled up their sleeves to unload and sort incoming donations, put together food parcels and create household starter packs.  

Clear Futures’ partnership with Liverpool City Council addresses the long-term needs of the area through strategic support, project development and delivering meaningful social value activities that will have a long-term impact. 

Giving our support to the Whitechapel Centre enables them to support over 4,300 people who were experiencing homelessness, help over 2000 of these people into the right accommodation for their needs, and prevent over 1700 individuals from becoming homeless through advice and interventions. 

52 hours
Cash donation
Social value add

Volunteers are essential to The Whitechapel Centre. They are the lifeblood of our organisation. We certainly couldn’t support the communities we serve without them. We would like to thank Seddon, Robertson and Clear Futures for volunteering their time today and for their much-needed manpower on the run up to the Christmas holidays.

Ruth McCaughley, Fundraising Manager, The Whitechapel Centre

36% social value to date

Clear Futures has delivered an incredible 36% of the overall project value in Social Value back to our Participants and their communities since its inception in 2019. This has been benchmarked by the Social Value Portal as being in the top 25% within the construction sector.

SLEV 2019–2023
top 25%
in our sector

UK Government mandate 10% (SLEV) of the Contract Value, and while Clear Futures aspires for 20%, we are delighted that together, our suppliers have achieved 36% of meaningful Social Value within the communities of our Participants, showing the benefit which a long-term Partnership provides.

Below highlights some of the Outcomes achieved which have fed into 10 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about how we have delivered this value.

If you’d like to understand how we can support you:

A Community Neighbourhood Project to benefit the residents of Bolton

Clear Futures and our supply chain partners follow a collaborative approach to delivering projects and look for ways to maximise outcomes for local communities and residents by delivering impactful social value. Clear Futures and supply chain partner Robertson Construction are working on several regeneration projects on behalf of Bolton Council, including the Library and Wellsprings projects funded by the Towns Fund scheme led by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing.

As part of the commitment to leaving additional legacy in the communities where we work, we agreed to deliver a transformational Community Neighbourhood project. 

Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Akhtar Zaman, said:

“Clear Futures and Robertson Construction are key council partners helping us to deliver a number of projects that will transform our town centre and improve the lives of our residents. The outstanding work they have done at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene shows a wider commitment to supporting the local community and creating a lasting legacy. Alongside this, the Building Future Skills In Construction Programme is providing local people with valuable workplace experience.”

Dirk Pittaway, Regional Managing Director, Robertson Construction North West said:

“At Robertson, we are committed to adding value for our customers by delivering social value, which really makes a difference in the communities where we operate.  

“The Community Neighbourhood project enabled us to work with our supply chain partners, getting support from trades and excess materials from one of our live projects to support Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene to improve the service they offer the local community. 

It’s important to us and our customers that the social value we deliver is meaningful. With Bolton Council undertaking several regeneration projects to benefit the wider community, we have been working closely to support its ‘Building Future Skills In Construction Bolton Programme’. As part of the programme, we provide two-week work placements on our sites that  support and train people to get work-ready. Completing the programme gives participants references along with their work experience and skills that will help them into employment.”

The Community Neighbourhood Project got underway in Autumn 2022, when the team met with different community and voluntary organisations in Bolton to identify a suitable project where a ‘DIY SOS’ style project, worth around £10k, could be delivered to improve spaces where local residents meet, socialise and receive support. 

A small application process was held with the help of Bolton CVS to review the deliverability of the projects. Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene was selected as the ‘Community Neighbourhood Project’ due to the wide-reaching impact the transformed spaces will have on residents. Two other projects stood out and as a result, Bolton Deaf Society and Hall i’ th’ Wood Community Garden were each awarded £500 to support their projects. 

A renovation to help people in need

Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene needed new spaces to continue and expand its community outreach. We completed a refurbishment that provides a fresh, more welcoming youth space and an inclusive, safe place for the community to meet. The new kitchen means the community group can offer much-needed support to local residents and can now give cookery education classes, raising awareness of healthy eating and fresh ingredients to make the most of food hampers. The church has wider ambitions to roll out training courses in food hygiene and Clear Futures and Robertson Construction have supported them with introductions to Bolton College so they can refer individuals for additional training and qualifications. 

Beth Ford, Pastor at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene, said:

“Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene is located in the centre of a housing estate in Bolton, which reflects a hugely diverse community of people. During the last year, we have been deeply saddened to recognise the increasing needs of people in our community, mainly as a result of increasing costs of living. We began to work closely with several partners in Bolton, including the Council, Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, Bolton at Home and Urban Outreach. Collectively, we continue to make every effort to reach those people most in need, and in doing so, we also attempt to bring our community closer together. We recognise that we are better together!”

The renovations of our kitchen and youth space have been an absolute blessing – not just to us, but to those people in our community that we already serve and to those we hope to meet in the coming months.

– Beth Ford, District Youth Pastor for the Church of the Nazarene, British Isles South District and Pastor at Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene

“We have so many plans to utilise our newly refurbished spaces, including running basic cookery classes, offering our space for 1-2-1 counselling and support, providing a safe, interactive space for our local youth, and bringing more partners together to make Bolton a great place to live. 

We are more than delighted with the renovations and cannot thank Clear Futures and Robertson Construction enough for this wonderful opportunity to do so much more in our community. In early September, we will celebrate the first birthday of our community café, Roots in Fresh Ground, which opened at the end of August 2022. The new kitchen ensures we can not only continue with this amazing café, through which we are meeting with so many people in our community, but hopefully, we can also celebrate so much more in the coming months and years ahead.”

The youth space is now a cleaner and more modern area designed to help keep local young people off the streets through group activities and as a hub to host clubs for the young people. The Community Neighbourhood Project has upgraded the lighting, redecorated the space and installed a TV screen, making the space more comfortable and inviting. A priority is to increase the number of young people accessing the building and offer a safe and inclusive environment with a true community feeling.

Project details

  • 116 hours of volunteering over a 5-day period.
  • Brand new kitchen installed, funded by donations-in-kind from Robertson Construction North West and its supply chain.
  • Subcontractor Reds Joinery volunteered to remove existing kitchen and install the new units.
  • Subcontractor Ameon carried out electrical testing and installed new energy and cost-efficient LED bulbs. 
  • Removing older storage units and a brand new TV and installation in the youth space funded by Robertson Construction North West.
  • Painting and decorating of the youth space, including cleaning, and replacing carpet tiles, funded by Clear Futures.
  • Movable stainless steel kitchen island for interactive workshops, funded by Clear Futures.
Clear Futures Community Neighbourhood Project

Eastbourne and Lewes scope housing decarbonisation

How Eastbourne and Lewes Councils are working with Clear Futures to address the long-term challenge of decarbonising their social housing stock.

Eastbourne and Lewes Councils have engaged Clear Futures to conduct research, alongside Brighton University, into decarbonising their social housing stock. The research has encompassed an additional six local authorities in the Sussex area to scope out bulk purchasing options.

Decarbonisation is a key area Clear Futures can help with, at a time when local authorities are stretched in their everyday obligations with now the additional pressure of meeting net-zero commitments.

For Eastbourne and Lewes, the decarbonisation research has looked at 40,000 homes and modelled the costs of potential interventions over a ten-year period to optimise programme delivery. For example, it has looked at solar PV installation and ground source heat pumps, taking into consideration the impact on residents who may welcome and need energy cost savings immediately but then may be faced with rising costs in the future. It has also calculated the potential savings if the council purchased materials in bulk and stored them until needed. “We are trying to look at different procurement solutions and realising that continuing to use the same answer isn’t solving this fundamental challenge everyone is facing,” Rivers added.  

Clear Futures creates a long-term relationship

We wanted to change the way we interacted, because we know that if everybody is motivated by making it work and happen for the longer term you get better results. It is in the interest of Clear Futures to get it right and not to behave in a short-term fashion to try to get maximum value out of one contract.

Ian Fitzpatrick, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Planning and Regeneration at Eastbourne and Lewes Councils

Committing to long-term partnerships also gives more certainty to the supply chain, encouraging investment in elements such as training, skills and research and development.

This approach incentivises investment in local skills development and gives certainty to local business to invest in growth. Taking a longer-term view is the most optimal way of delivery, if it is stop-start your local area won’t get the benefit. The seven councils in Sussex are spending £100m a year on our housing stock already and over a ten-year period we are going to spend £1bn by 2030. Clear Futures will make sure we can get the maximum benefits without sleepwalking into it – they will analyse and look at opportunities with us.

A ten-year horizon

Clear Futures will be operating well beyond ten-years, which is unusual for a procurement vehicle and makes a phenomenal difference. It gives us the opportunity to build the skills and education locally, create the local opportunity and concurrently achieve these long-term targets.

Helena Rivers, Director at Clear Futures and Director at AECOM

Other local authorities can use the partnership for transformative challenges in the built environment too – particularly those with an environmental and sustainability element. 

Supporting Bolton families at Christmas

Clear Futures, along with Seddon, has given a helping hand to Bolton charity Urban Outreach, to deliver Christmas hampers that will feed more than 1,500 families.

Contractors Robertson Group, Eric Wright Group and Willmott Dixon in Bolton also turned up to offer their services.

Families are nominated for the hampers by someone such as a support working with them and the group then work to get them a hamper on two distribution days, including December 23, where a fresh option is included.

The fresh option is for families to enjoy Christmas day with fresh meat and fruit included along with chicken and sausages with halal options also available. The non fresh options included schloer, custard, gravy, chocolate mints, cranberry sauce, crisps and savoury crackers as well as pulling crackers for families to have fun.

Laura Bagley from Christmas Dinner On Jesus said: “We hope that it is something more than just food.

“Hopefully it will take out some of the worry and some of the stress of Christmas.

“I think what we hope most of all is that it has a much bigger impact such as the joy that comes from it and for people to know they can get help.

“We’ve worked on 600 in one day and it’s just over a third of what we need in total.

“We hope that it makes people feel less lonely and they realise that they are thought about and cared for.”

This is the eleventh year of Christmas Dinner With Jesus.

Laura said she had noticed more people needing help this year than other years as families were embarassed to ask for help if they had not been in a situation to need it.

She said: “Everybody is usually nominated as they don’t like to ask for help themselves and we are seeing in the current crisis that more people are needing this and we want to help take the worry away.

“We’re happy to do this and we want people to enjoy Christmas.”

Between April and September in 2021, 724 food parcels went out to children in Bolton, a 61 per cent rise from the year before.

With this figure set to rise yet again this year, the support Urban Outreach provides is becoming increasingly vital for many in the community.

This is a great charitable initiative from Seddon and Clear Futures. It was wonderful to see these two companies acting for the good of the community, especially at Christmas time.

Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Akhtar Zaman

Urban Outreach provides food for disadvantaged adults and young people in Bolton as well as support.

Nicola Hodkinson, owner and director of Seddon, said: “Community forms a key pillar of our values at Seddon. We have been based in and worked across the Bolton area for 125 years, making events like this one very close to our hearts. With families facing a cost-of-living crisis this year, the work that Urban Outreach is doing is invaluable to the community.”

Now more than ever it is so important to Clear Futures that we drive forward economic recovery and growth in our communities through the infrastructure projects and services we deliver.

Keith Edwards, Clear Futures Partnerships Director
Volunteers pack food hampers

Collaborative partnership generating social value in Bolton

The new Jubilee Centre is being delivered in Bolton through a partnership between Clear Futures, Bolton Cares Ltd and Bolton Council. It will give much-needed support and opportunities for adults with learning disabilities in the town.

Watch to learn more about this facility, as well as how the Clear Futures partnership is delivering wider improvements across Bolton with local social value an integral part of every project.