Learn what Yasmin Halai-Carter, Chief Executive at Ethstat, had to say about the power of social procurement; supporting organisations to give back to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Discover her personal journey and how your organisation can support communities through social spend.
Running a Social Enterprise to support communities in need
I’ve run a social enterprise, for nearly twenty years, and in 2018 my husband Bruce and I decided to push Ethstat; drawing from our personal pain and experience to help others. You see, my father had passed away the year before, and we could no longer look after my mum, who suffered from vascular dementia.
Having always loved procurement and innovating, I needed to focus my energies on giving back. After many years of running a business, being a mum and a daughter, I needed to create. The best way I knew how to do this was to align my personal values with my work.
Our first campaign was a simple postcard I’d take to meetings with an image of my mum and her dementia doll, and it read, “You Buy Stationery, We Buy Dolls”. It was honest, powerful, and transparent. I shared my story with our customers and supply chains and learned that I wasn’t alone – many of us had a story and we were all touched by dementia in some way or another. What became clear was people needed help, emotionally, in terms of advice and what to do, but also financially, and this is where we knew we could step in and take that worry away. If we could grow Ethstat with larger contracts and buy in, we could use the profits to help people just like my mum.
Using the profits of social spend to give back to the people who need us most.
So that’s exactly what we did and do.
When the pandemic hit, our business grew significantly. We gained some significant clients, and it was through their social spend that we started to be able to share our community giving on a much larger scale. I can’t describe the feeling I had when we sent out multiple dolls and hundreds of activity packs to care homes.
Having partnered with many amazing organisations like Amey, Vattenfall, Tata Consultancy, Siemens and Amnesty International, it’s scale fulfilment that funds our important work. As a businesswoman, I find our model exciting and relevant in our current times. The challenge and opportunity we face today is scaling this further, so we positively impact thousands of more people across the UK.
Providing dementia dolls and pets to provide comfort to those who need it most.
The joy I feel when I receive photos of people receiving their dementia doll or pets and the feedback from families lifts me every day. I feel immense gratitude that we can give back in some small way. What I hadn’t realised then but have since, was this is the therapy I needed to heal and to keep my mum’s memory alive.
For anyone reading this, please know that social procurement changes lives. And we must all work together to nurture, protect and support each other’s objectives. The saying, ‘character is how you treat people who can’t do anything for you in return’ is how I see our mission at Ethstat.
Social Procurement extra tips
If you’re looking for extra tips on social procurement and how to get involved, please have a look on the Ethstat website, where we share a little more about our journey.