A welcome addition to any community: the Yondr approach

yondr logoIn my role as Partnership Manager at Groundwork UK, I find myself in regular conversations with businesses who are interested in what Groundwork can do to support the creation of social value. It’s fair to say that these conversations are becoming more frequent and detailed as commissioning authorities seek greater transparency from businesses regarding their performance against social value metrics.

It’s easy to find examples of a disconnection between social value commitments and business as usual contract delivery work. Social Value can sometimes feel like an afterthought, and some businesses underestimate the costs associated with delivering high-quality social, economic and environmental outcomes. At Groundwork we are interested in seeing the maximum impact for our partners and welcome the opportunity to work with organisations that take it seriously from day one. Yondr are an excellent example.

Yondr are a company who build ‘hyper scale data centers’ – buildings designed to manage our data storage capacity needs into the future. The scale and complexity of these technical buildings means that Yondr takes a long-term view to working in communities and are aiming to revolutionise their sector through a deep commitment to sustainability. They are aware of the carbon impacts of data storage, and have taken steps to achieve the lowest footprint possible, as well as recognising the positive opportunity their investment can make in terms of social and economic impacts.

Yondr want to be ‘a welcome addition to any community’ and, after acquiring the site of Slough’s former Dulux in factory in 2019, they began planning the construction of a new data centre in the town. Yondr reached out to Groundwork, seeking our expertise to help create a Global Social Value Strategy which could be applied and tested in Slough, and subsequently adopted across Yondr’s other projects around the world. Over the last 40 years, Groundwork has consistently delivered social, economic and environmental outcomes from our work, and we have worked in Slough for many years, cultivating a deep understanding of the local context, needs and partners, making this an ideal partnership.

Together, we devised a six-step approach to social value creation, the ‘Yondr Approach to Social Value’, designed to be tailored to the specific needs of individual communities. We recognise that no two places are the same, and that only through thorough community consultation and engaging with the full spectrum of residents, can the community’s needs be meaningfully understood and addressed. The model created is a blueprint for embedding social value in a way that provides substantial environmental and social benefits from the start.

The full report details the initial work we undertook in Slough, and outlines the six-step approach to social value creation which Groundwork and Yondr have developed. If you’d like to discuss how we can support your social value plans, maximising social, environmental and economic outcomes as part of your work, talk to me!

Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager