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.

Net Zero at a local level

Net zero at a local level: the scale of the challenge and the art of the possible in the built environment.

Reflections from the UK Partnerships Hub boardroom, sponsored by Clear Futures.

The conference took place on the 14th of June 2022 at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel & Country Club, bringing together a collection of public sector guests, such as Matthew Vickerstaff from the IPA, Peter Reekie of SFT, and private sector representatives from the likes of Knight Frank and P2G.

The Clear Futures net zero retrofit lunchtime debate was attended by;

  • Jim Taylor, Clear Futures Non-executive Chair
  • Keith Edwards, Clear Futures Partnership Director
  • Dr John Hindley, TwelveTrees Consulting Director
  • Jeya Sivasubramaniam, SNRG Head of Growth
  • Sean Owen, GMCA Head of Low Carbon
  • Nigel Badham, Knight Frank Partner

The key message to come out of the discussions was clear: the public sector cannot reach net zero on its own and collaboration is essential. Local government especially, does not have the capacity or resources needed to deliver decarbonisation programmes as well as its day-to-day responsibilities.

Bringing capabilities together to unlock public sector decarbonisation challenges

Collaboration of political, public and private sector efforts is needed to deliver the requirements of net zero – with the private sector helping meet some of the key gaps the public sector faces in terms of resource, green skills, investment and more.

Integrated approaches such as partnership delivery models – Clear Futures and Go Neutral are two examples – bring collective groups of experts and stakeholders to the table at an early stage. This type of engagement gives local authorities an understanding of not only what they need from their projects and programmes, but exactly what is achievable and what options are realistic.

Consider this example: through its partnership with Bolton Council, Clear Futures brought together multiple public sector organisations to develop a potential heat network solution they could all use. Keith Edwards, Partnership Director for the Bolton Partnership, explained that this resulted from “using the team on the ground to fully understand the priorities, then linking that back up to the strategic management plan”.

This approach was welcomed by public sector attendees who agreed that the main hurdle to overcome is the initial development of a project – defining the needs and vision, and a project brief that can be delivered and moves public sector bodies to a point where they can engage with the private sector.

But the obstacles are not one-sided. There was also discussion around barriers the private sector faces when engaging with the public sector. Such as the complexity of retrofitting public buildings, and decarbonisation programmes across estates that have complicated ownership and management – the education sector being a prime example. So a more accessible interface is a necessity if we’re to engage with organisations from central and local government and bring together interested parties to discuss how they can work together.

Looking at new investment models to accelerate delivery

New and creative models are being developed across the private sector. But with few recognised examples of these working at a local government level to deliver tangible retrofit programmes, there remains some apprehension within the public sector about this approach.

But there is clear appetite amongst private sector guests around investment opportunities and innovative models, appreciating the potential and scale of investment needed to reach net zero by 2050 in the UK.

SNRG is a Centrica and Antin backed developer of smart local energy systems that support the transition to zero carbon. Through aggregating technology, they maximise the use of locally generated renewable energy and provide an end-to-end service designing, funding, building and operating SmartGrid solutions. This substantially reduces the risk, cost, carbon, and complexity for residential, industrial and commercial, and public sector clients, residents and occupants. 

Clear Futures has the capabilities to work with public sector partners to identify the best-fit investment model for specific opportunities, connecting with a range of investors to bring together the investment required to unlock a project or programme into delivery.

Similarly, the Go Neutral framework procured by GMCA and its ‘Integrated Smart Energy Solutions’ is geared to third party funded opportunities with the flexibility for shared investment and revenue under the contract structure.

The unclear benefits of decarbonisation

There’s still work to be done to debunk myths around net zero and what it means in real terms. To overcome scepticism around the revenue benefit of decarbonisation measures, clearer messaging and case studies are needed to demonstrate the reality of payback and cost savings achieved.

The Net Zero Estate Playbook published by government sets out the ‘No Regret’ principle to protect public spend and make sure the investment in net zero is worthwhile. But more work needs to be done to promote the efficiencies that can be delivered. Certain measures such as solar PV can take as little as five years to achieve payback and see the efficiencies realised.

Addressing the green skills challenge to unlock opportunities

Green skills and supply chain challenges were discussed as many have struggled to find the necessary capabilities to deliver programmes, especially those more complex such as social housing retrofit.

One key way to overcome the green skills shortage is through a joined-up approach – whereby the public and private sectors come together to better understand where there are gaps and work with local education organisations to develop upskilling and training programmes.

The Go Neutral framework uses local supply chain partners to support SMEs and the growth of green skills, taking advantage of upskilling provisions and programmes such as the GMCA Skills for Growth programme and Green Spaces fund.

Debating the cost of reaching net zero

While funding such as the PSDS scheme has provided opportunity for the public sector, the reality of differing and sometimes competing grants means there’s no overarching, well-considered strategic approach to decarbonisation measures.

With bids typically having tight deadlines for the business case, it becomes a massive undertaking for a local authority without a net zero strategy to identify which projects to put forward for funding.

The result? Rushed bids that focus on one-off projects which will improve the efficiency of a small number of assets – but ignore the bigger picture and wider retrofit challenge.

Taking a more holistic approach across an estate, i.e. looking at longer-term solutions, can provide better benefits. But the greater the complexity of measures, such as heat networks or smart energy grids, the longer to develop a business case for funding. So more often than not, these opportunities are missed.

One public sector speaker noted “Authorities should not chase the money. If they become an informed client, they can then decide if the money fits the outcomes and objectives they want to achieve”.

PFI contracts and the latent resource

Lack of collaboration between customers and their PFI providers means there’s often no agreement on using the resource in a contract to decarbonise public sector assets. Again, real opportunities are being missed here: proactive engagement with the mechanisms in PFI contracts and lifecycle funds can identify ways to invest in measures that deliver long term benefits for the operation and maintenance of an asset.

Increasing efficiencies through behavioural change

Another easy win from a more joined-up approach around sustainability and FM delivery is around behavioural change. By engaging with end users, we can achieve greater energy savings and carbon reduction – a simple but effective step. One local authority noted how they introduced office employees to the building management team who explained how the building worked and ways occupants could play their part in ensuring it operated at optimum efficiency.

Through the PSDS projects Clear Futures delivered with Bolton Council, activities were put in place to upskill the council’s internal teams. Experts including AECOM and Vital Energi were asked to support feasibility and assessment of council buildings. The result of this experience and knowledge sharing means the council team now have a much better understanding of how to use buildings more efficiently, as well as retrofitting and decarbonisation projects.