Business leaders visit Sheffield as part of BITC’s Seeing is Believing programme

Business leaders visit Sheffield as part of BITC’s Seeing is Believing programme

Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today brought together senior business leaders from companies such as Aviva, Sheffield Hallam University, Worldline, IKEA, Royal Mail Group, CityFibre, and Mott MacDonald to better understand the interconnectivity and complexity of issues impacting families living in areas of Sheffield with multiple deprivation, especially those which impact children and young people. The visit also gives business leaders the opportunity to understand how they can collaborate with the community and local council to develop and deliver a long-term vision for change in Sheffield.

The visit is part of BITC’s flagship initiative, The Prince’s Seeing is Believing programme. The Seeing is Believing programme, one of the most prestigious immersive experiences available for C-suite leaders, helps drive BITC’s Place programme, facilitating meaningful cross-sector collaboration on new and innovative solutions to deliver long-term and transformational impact in areas around the UK, such as Sheffield.

As part of the visit, leaders will visit community organisations including Endeavour, a community organisation that supports young people in a number of areas including literacy, academic development, and health. Business leaders will also visit Meynell Community Primary School, Longley Park Sixth Form, and Blend Kitchen.

The visit, led by Tim Roberts, Chief Executive Officer at Henry Boot plc, comes as Government data from 2022 showed that in Yorkshire and The Humber, 14.3% of 16–24-year-olds were not in education, employment, or training (NEET), which is higher than the national average (12.3%).[1] In addition, Census data shows that more than half of people aged 16 years and over in Sheffield who are currently not in employment have not worked in the last 12 months.[2]

Tim Roberts, CEO at Henry Boot plc, and leader of BITC’s Sheffield Seeing is Believing visit, said:

“Understanding the role that businesses play in supporting communities such as those in Sheffield is essential if we are to work together to address the levels of inequality many people face across the UK. Through BITC’s Seeing is Believing visit to Sheffield, we had the opportunity to hear first-hand from people facing barriers to employment, living in communities with high levels of deprivation, and who have been marginalised due to a lack of access to rights, resources, and opportunities. I look forward to working with the other business leaders on the visit to leverage our resources and expertise, to drive meaningful change for those facing barriers and deprivation in Sheffield and other communities.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Co-Director of Place at Business in the Community, said:

“At BITC, we believe in the power of collaborative action to create a fairer and greener world that transforms lives and enables communities to thrive. The Seeing is Believing programme gives business leaders the opportunity to hear first-hand how societal issues impact people’s life chances and understand their crucial role in driving collaborative action. The visit to Sheffield has shed light on the challenges facing families, children, and young people in Sheffield, and we look forward to working with business leaders to not only address the issues that we saw but to support the development and delivery of a long-term vision for transformational change in Sheffield.”

The Seeing is Believing programme was established by the then Prince of Wales in 1990. The programme, supported by Salesforce, was born from a simple but powerful belief that the best way to close the gap between the boardroom and the community was to take business leaders out to the communities and, through the power of experiential learning, to inspire and challenge participants. The visits are designed to encourage business leaders to think strategically about the implications for their own businesses and the practical actions that can be taken in response, leading to meaningful and sustained impact for both businesses and communities. To date, over 25,000 business leaders have taken part in the Seeing is Believing programme. 


Notes to editor

  1. This figure can be found on the Government website here 
  2. Census 2021 results
  3. Learn more about BITC’s Seeing is Believing Programme here
  4. Read the Business in the Community’s 2022 Seeing is Believing Programme review here

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