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One of the roles that businesses like ours can play in society is to provide work and educational opportunities for young people, this is why we have a global Community Engagement initiative.

As part of the Glasgow team’s ongoing Community Engagement activities at Oakgrove primary school, helping the children with language, reading and grammar skills, some volunteers participated in the school’s celebration of World Book Day in March 2017.

The aim was to inspire the children to get involved in more reading and develop their enthusiasm for literature. Three volunteers from the Coats Pension Office attended this event. Each volunteer read to two different classes between Primary 1 and Primary 7 for 30mins with the hope that the children will want to continue reading the book where they stopped.

Coats engagement with the school should provide the children with improved inspiration, confidence and self-esteem, and enthusiasm for reading & literature. The Glasgow team felt a sense of pride being able to help with the event and see the children’s enthusiasm for learning.

Across all our sites in over 60 different countries we encourage our teams to engage with their communities in ways that best suit them and their circumstances. 

During 2016, Coats Romania actively took part in a project, ‘Run for It’, coordinated by Odorheiu Secuiesc Community Foundation (SzKA). The project was designed to:

  • Build a strong community in the town where Coats operates;
  • Build a strong charity mind set within Coats employees; and
  • Help those in need.

In October 2016, 22 employees from Coats Odorhei supported several foundations mainly engaged to help children and adults with disabilities, by running in total 367.9 km. These employees were not experienced runners; many of them took part in this event just to help people in need.  Apart from the runners there were many other Coats Odorhei team members who attended the event to encourage and support their colleagues.

See the team in action below.

We try to be an active member of the community in which we operate.

Coats Hungary is working closely with the Twist Olivér Public Foundation to have a positive impact on the local community. The Foundation is located next to the Coats factory in Újpest and provides temporary social housing and care for homeless people. Coats Hungary is helping to empower the residents by offering job opportunities in the factory.

During 2016, the Foundation hosted an open communication event where all the social home residents were invited to the factory.  They heard from Coats leaders about the different activities undertaken within the different departments in Coats and learned more about job opportunities in the factory from HR (see picture). This was a great opportunity for Coats employees to answer any questions the residents had regarding the working conditions in the factory (working hours, salary, etc.).

This collaboration has resulted in mutual long term benefits. Indeed, it helped empower the residents by giving them a chance to be self-sustaining and allowed Coats to access a valuable new workforce for some of our operator positions. We are planning to repeat such similar communication forums in the future as well.

From left to right: Coats Hungary dyehouse manager, maintenance coordinator and HR Manager; the Head of social home and 3 applicants.

At Coats we see ourselves as a part of every local community in which we operate and we take an interest in what is happening around us.  Across our sites we encourage our teams to engage with their communities and have a positive impact where they can.

In 2015 our plant in Odorhei, Romania, joined the Earth Day celebrations and organised a rubbish collection event.  Initiated in 1970, Earth Day is held annually to raise awareness of environmental issues all around the world.  Coats Odorhei invited employees and their families to clean a local area including a local playground in nearby Cserehat, and 32 volunteers participated.  Their efforts resulted in a really clean space for local children to play in and residents to enjoy.

At Coats we value the environment and we are committed to looking beyond the boundaries of our factory gates.  Our environmental policies help us manage our impact across our operations and contribute towards a greener environment.

Making safe, clean water widely available is one of the world’s largest sustainable development challenges and Coats has been helping to help tackle water scarcity in Cambodia.

Most of the people in Beng Village, Cambodia, are farmers and earn their living by growing crops and raising livestock. In the past, limited access to clean water forced the nearly 1,000 community members to use water from contaminated wells for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Coats Phong Phu, the Vietnam business of Coats Group plc, saw an opportunity to improve the situation and sponsored Project 24, a project run by Planet Water on World Water Day. One of the 24 water filtration towers erected during the 24 hour project was at Pong Ro Primary School in Beng Village, which will benefit 367 students and 145 households. On top of the obvious humanitarian benefits, the new fresh water supply will also increase the potential for the social and economic development of the local community.

We are delighted to have supported this worthwhile initiative. For more details, please visit the Project 24 website:

installing the water filtration tower
The water filtration tower became operational in just one day


Local children have gained access to clean water for the first time
Local children have gained access to clean water for the first time

The local community saying ‘Thank you Coats’


In 2015 we saw an excellent example of philanthropy from our plant in Egypt.  Led by a special committee, the site ran a four day campaign in partnership with the Egyptian charity the Resala Association, to collect and distribute clothing for the poor and orphaned individuals in the local community.

Resala Association collecting the donated clothes

The results were staggering.  Over 100 employees donated almost 3,000 items, providing clothing for some of Egypt’s most vulnerable people.  The project has also helped Coats Egypt build a stronger relationship with the community; improved teamwork and boosted morale; and demonstrated to our employees that everyone can take part and make a difference.

Coats employees organise and repack donated clothes

At Coats, our local business operations are committed to supporting academic attainment in the communities where employees live.  They seek to enhance employability by improving literacy and numeracy levels (and where appropriate English language learning), as well as encouraging greater awareness of health and hygiene issues.

Coats Thailand places a particular importance on supporting children in its local communities.  To coincide with National Children’s Day, the Company Welfare Committee organised special events at local schools near to Coats Thailand’s operations.  This year Coats participated in the official opening ceremony of the ‘Special Education Centre of Samutsongkam’.  The Welfare Committee and employees donated food, snacks and toys, and organised games for the students as well as presenting scholarships to 10 children.  Once a week, teachers and assistants from the school arrange home visits to children with special needs or those who are unable to travel to school.

Coats Thailand has been supporting the local community since 2008 and its Welfare Committee is already making plans for future events.

When children suffer from serious illness, it is a difficult time for everyone involved.  The children and their parents are often overwhelmed with their concerns and feelings.  Arts and crafts therapy has proven to be a good way for children to channel their emotions surrounding their condition.  Through crafting the children can express their thoughts.  This helps them cope with their situation and it can also take their mind off their illness for a while.

To give children with serious illness a chance to have some fun and be creative, a team of Coats employees in Charlotte decided to work with the Levine Children’s Hospital based in the city.  Together they set up different crafting stations and the Coats team helped the children create a wide variety of things.  It was truly a rewarding experience for all involved.

It is important to Coats that we engage with the community we operate in.  Our teams regularly organise events and activities to play a vital part in the local community. 

There are a number of different ways that Coats can have a positive impact on local communities.  We try to be an active member of the community in which we operate, and our concern for our employees extends beyond work, to their personal lives and the well-being of their families.    

Sri Lanka 1

As a part of its community engagement programme, Coats Sri Lanka has partnered with the Council for Business with Britain in Sri Lanka, the British Council, HSBC and Cambridge University.  Together they are sponsoring teachers to take part in an English language teaching programme in schools close to our manufacturing plant in Horana in the Western Province of the country.  

Sri Lanka 2

The main goal is to improve school teachers’ English in Horana and nearby Moragahahena where most of Coats’ employees’ children study.  Coats’ sponsorship has enabled three teachers at schools near the factory to attend the Regional English Support Centre twice a month.  

By investing in the teachers, we invest in the students, and indirectly that benefits their parents who are our employees.  

Coats Sri Lanka is hoping to expand the programme in the coming years.

Bishopshalt SchoolOne of the roles that businesses like ours can play in society is to provide work and educational opportunities for young people.  Stockley Park, our Group head office in the UK, is continuing its support of a local high school, which includes a work experience programme.

As part of that initiative, Group Chief Executive Paul Forman gave a presentation to over 300 students who will soon be moving on to university or the workplace. 

The presentationCareer 1 gave the students an opportunity to learn about Coats – a local employer as well as a market leader and global business – but also to think about the role of business in society.  Paul discussed what is important for success in business and broke down some of the stereotypes that the students may have about manufacturing and the wider commercial world.  He shared his belief that business can be a force for good and provides an environment where you can learn and have fun for your entire life.  He spoke about the skills Coats looks for when recruiting employees and also how it helps stakeholders in local communities all over the world.

Whilst we aim to generate money for our investors, an equally important goal is to make a difference to the lives of all our stakeholders through our responsible actions.  Together, this will help ensure the company is still here in another 250 years’ time!

At Coats, we believe that arts and crafts can be more than just a source of fun.  Taking part in creative activities can be therapeutic and help people express themselves, gain confidence, and develop new skills.  This is especially true for children with learning difficulties for whom arts and crafts are a proven learning aid when conventional teaching styles fail. 

In 2014, Coats Colombia continued supporting a project in Pereira called the Lanitas de Vida Foundation (Yarns of Life).  The initiative supports children with learning difficulties at the Carlos Castro College, by teaching them to knit their own garments, and sell the final products at local fairs. 

Coats Colombia has supported the programme by donating wool and other craft materials and by providing funding for teachers.  Lanitas de Vita is successfully helping the children focus their attention, earn some money, learn a new skill, and stay in school.

Lanitas de Vida  Columbia 1

A second permanent Coats Colombia partnership is with the League Against Cancer.  Coats is teaching patients and relatives in the chemotherapy and renal dialysis units in Pereira to weave garments, to make their treatment sessions more enjoyable and in some cases to boost family income.  In 2014, the project reached 340 patients and relatives, with Coats donating products and helping to fund the teachers.


Dialysis patients

Columbia 2

As part of Coats’ global Community Engagement initiative staff at Stockley Park head office in the UK have recently partnered with local schools in the area on a range of educational activities. One such activity was offering a work experience programme with a local secondary school during the summer of 2014.                         

In the UK work placement is compulsory for all students aged 15, so structured programmes of this kind provide students with valuable experience. A total of four students from the school were each assigned to different departments (Digital, IT, Finance and jointly, Communications & Global Services) and they were each allocated a mentor.  The students were integrated into the working day so that they had the chance to experience a ‘taster’ of a real work environment.   Each afternoon a guest speaker from some of the departments not mentoring a student (HR, R&D and Tax) gave a short presentation on their area of the business.  To finish the week the students were asked to give a short presentation on their own work experience and learnings, followed by longer joint presentation on ‘issues facing a global company’.

The feedback from the school was very positive – ‘We are delighted to be working with Coats plc and all our students who undertook work experience with the company had an amazing week and gained a true insight in to how a global company operates……we hope to work and build the relationship to the mutual benefit of all those involved.’

Coats UK schools image

Textiles is one of the two pillars of our global Community Engagement programme and colleagues in Coats Turkey recently launched an initiative called “If you don’t wear it, let someone else wear it” or 'Giymiyorsaniz giydirin' in Turkish. Coats Turkey clothing scheme
The aim of the initiative was to establish a recycling scheme where employees donated old clothes and household textiles which are then recycled through a local charity. The scheme was run in partnership with the local Bursa City Committee.  

Once all the donated clothing was collected, a team of volunteers gave their time to sorting and placing the clothes into boxes so they could be distributed easily to communities in the city. More than 600 items of clothing were distributed the last time the project was run.

The number of volunteers on the project been steadily growing and it is now run twice a year within Coats Turkey.

Coats Turkey recycle team
Volunteers sorted donated clothing into boxes for easy distribution 

In September 2014 a group of Coats employees prepared and served lunch at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte.  The group arrived at 10:30 am and prepared a hot meal (consisting of a main course, two side dishes, dessert and drinks) which was served to almost 200 men during lunch time. 

All the men were appreciative and enjoyed the meal – and since they usually only receive a sandwich for lunch, the hot food was well received.

After lunch was served and cleaned up, the group was given a tour of the facility and discussed the various programmes the Shelter offers to get the residents back on their feet and into permanent housing and jobs.  

The experience was rewarding for the group, who appreciated being able to give back to those less fortunate.  Every member of the team agreed that this was a worthwhile project and are on board to hopefully do it again in the near future.

Coats Charlotte team

The textile and apparel industry is one of the largest industries in Sri Lanka, and the revenues from it are key to the country’s prosperity. The cottage textile industry also generates important income for communities across Sri Lanka.  Coats believes in supporting local artisans in traditional crafts and textile production, so they can prosper in the future and provide income for local people.

Since 2011, Coats Sri Lanka has been working with the Sri Lankan Design Festival (SLDF) to support and promote local apparel, craft and design.  We have donated Coats threads and given advice to community projects across the country.  These projects have successfully supported traditional and artisanal crafts and textile production.

Traditional lace-making in southern Sri Lanka

The traditional lace-making community in southern Sri Lanka has long been in need of revivial.  In 2011, Coats started donating thread to several artisans to help rekindle the dying craft of pillow-lace or handmade Beeralu lace.  These artisans have produced a range of exquisite laces for garments and accessories, and the results have been displayed at the SLDF fashion shows.

Traditional lace making

Hand-woven textiles in Divulapitiya village

Coats Sri Lanka has also been supporting artisans in the hand-woven textile industry in Divulapitiya village in Gampaha.  The Divulapitiya village has a unique cottage industry.  While textile weavers across the island used traditional cotton yarn to make fabrics, the artisans in this village use regular machine sewing thread for weaving.  The resulting textiles are fine due to the thin thread and vibrant thanks access to unlimited colours.  Once again, Coats gave these artisans coloured thread that could be incorporated into their textiles.  Many garments made with these fabrics have also been showcased at the SLDF fashion shows.

Hand weaving loom, Sri LankaSri Lanka Fashion show 2012

Coats is committed to being a good corporate citizen and an active member of the local communities in which it operates.  In January 2013, Coats began supporting a project in the Dominican Republic to teach a group of local women how to sew.  The aim was to support local enterprise in the community by providing a way for the group to make money, so they can improve their family situation by selling the items they have learned to make.

Coats donated the thread to support the project, and our partner in the Dominican Republic, ‘Perell’, helpfully organised on-the-ground support such as trucks to deliver the thread.

The training lasted for five days, teaching the group the skills they needed and providing them with patterns to make products.  Feedback to date has been extremely positive – the women involved have expressed delight at their new ability to make textile items, both for sale and for their families.  Coats’ donation has ensured the programme has enough thread to continue for the foreseeable future. 

Coats community sewing project in Dominican Republic

Across our sites in 70 different countries we encourage our teams to engage with their communities in ways that best suit them and their circumstances.  We understand that in each locality cultures and needs vary.  Diversity and inclusion is important to Coats across the company as is the health and well-being of the community.  

About 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning[1].  Like a lot of developing countries, Bangladesh has a high proportion of people with disabilities who need care and support.   

CRP is an organisation working across Bangladesh to support people with spinal cord injuries.  They provide comprehensive assistance to patients after an injury, helping them through physical, emotional and economic rehabilitation, as well as integration back into their home and community.   

Coats Bangladesh is proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the work of CRP by donating 10 wheelchairs to their centre.  This is in addition to supporting the on-going work of the rehabilitation centre which offers sewing machine training to patients. 

Coats Bangladesh CRP 1

[1] World Report on Disability , World Bank and World Health Organisation 2011


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