Jane Sutton

Five minutes with…

Jane Sutton

Business Systems Director

Realise Futures

In a few words, please explain the role of Realise Futures.

Realise Futures is a Social Enterprise (Community Interest Company). Our purpose is to improve the wellbeing, mental health, and employability of disabled and disadvantaged people while contributing to our communities’ economies.

The primary aim of the business is to enhance and promote the economic, wellbeing and mental health of those who are disadvantaged and/or disabled.

The company is organised into three areas: Learning, Coaching & Advice, Employment, and RF Works (seven distinct Social Businesses). Together, they provide professional and tailored opportunities that help people realise their potential. RF Works is our commercial social business; the fulfilment business is where we can offer a legitimate service to the logistics industry. We often describe ourselves as a hybrid business, combining commercial and public services to benefit the local economy and our communities.

What are the different sectors in which you operate?

We are very diverse, so our businesses operate in many sectors, such as retail, hospitality, fulfilment, manufacturing, horticulture, adult community services (wellbeing), adult education, and employment support.

What type of fulfilment services are you asked to undertake and is there potential for the logistics sector to get involved?

We already work within the logistics supply chain as an external fulfilment provider. Our current clients include logistics specialist Action International (Mcr), Storm International, and Creative Cosmetics (which supplies major retailers).

We get it wrapped, packed and despatched. We can cover quality and checking, labelling and re-labelling, repackaging, decanting, shrink-wrapping, heat sealing, blister packing, and hand packing.

We have the flexibility to offer a competitive tailor-made fulfilment solution for any logistical challenge, regularly helping businesses increase capacities at short notice and absorb seasonal fluctuations.

We would love to work more with the local logistics sector, and I am sure there are ways we can collaborate to benefit all. We are always open to new ideas.

What do your fulfilment service colleagues say about working at Realise Futures?

All colleagues in our fulfilment team state that the atmosphere is great, and everyone is happy. It doesn’t matter what level you are in the company; everyone from Board level down is helpful. They enjoy the flexible working hours that suit us and how we work on improving their skills for progression.   All colleagues know the plan for each day; communication is the key, and they say it’s a nice place to work.

Personally, I think it is a very rewarding place to be (but I would say that!). 40% of our workforce have a declared disability of varying natures; we can job carve and adapt the work to an individual’s ability, which enables them to be in paid employment, which is something they appreciate so that they can work the hours that suit them. To any future customer, you must visit to see it and understand what it means to our colleagues.

What are the benefits of a logistics partner working with Realise Futures Fulfilment?

We are based in the Whitehouse area of Ipswich, with excellent road links to Felixstowe, A14, and A12. We have a large storage space on site, articulated lorry access, forklift trucks, and can shrink-wrap pallets.

We will work with your approved hauliers for time-specific deliveries and collections. We can also organise onward delivery if required.

We are  BSI: ISO9001 accredited and have industry experience working within supply chains. But many fulfilment companies can say that in Suffolk, being so close to our major roads and port. So, what makes us any different?

We have multiple sites across the RF Works for fulfilment network – we can arrange for work to be undertaken across our Bury St Edmunds, Melton, and Ipswich sites. One of the most significant benefits is our social impact. Many businesses have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and/or social value targets, and working with Realise Futures can help you achieve these. Every purchase of our services means you are also contributing to your local community, supporting those who may not have the opportunity to work in a 9 to 5 job. At Realise Futures we do things differently to benefit people. As a community interest company, we invest any profit we make back into our business to create more opportunities for people with disabilities and/or disadvantages.

What is it about your job that you love?

I’m fortunate to be one of three Directors of Realise Futures. I see first-hand the company’s impact on people’s lives, their wellbeing and the progression individuals can make by working with us.

We are a pretty relaxed, transparent team, and whilst my role is predominantly Quality, Policy, Legislation, Brand and Business Systems (could be classed mundane), I only have to walk the factory/warehouse floor to know the positive impact we are making to individuals and their lives. Our colleagues certainly keep our feet firmly on the ground.

Realise Futures is all about the people. I love that we prove that our hybrid way of combining commercial businesses and support services works.

Can you share a secret about yourself that would surprise your work colleagues?

There isn’t anything my colleagues don’t know about me; I’ve worked with several of them for over twenty years! However, some secrets are best kept.

Realise Futures