At the heart of every house is the kitchen. Big or small, it's a welcoming space to meet morning or night to relax or busily prepare food and entertain family and friends. No longer simply used for cooking, the kitchen is now capable of housing anything from morning coffee with friends, to a weekend dinner party.
At the heart of our business is a commitment to creating first class kitchens and joinery and in doing so to help everyone we work with, in every community, to do well.
As a Board we ensure that value creation benefits broader society and is well understood. We note the new government's response has been to reinvigorate industrial strategy and challenge companies to reconnect and to ensure all interests are aligned. This includes adopting values that provide the foundation for a corporate culture that respects its responsibilities to all stakeholders, including society.
For 21 years, we have been growing a sustainable business that delivers value for shareholders, employees, builders and communities. We live, breathe and dream our values and are in tune with the societies where we operate. We always act responsibly. Our approach to sustainability helps us to maximise long term value socially, environmentally and financially. And we continue to do this day in day out.
Howdens now employs 8,900 people across 642 depots, two factories, our warehouse and distribution operation and our IT and support functions. We supply around 50 kitchen ranges as well as appliances and joinery items to 400,000 small builders across Great Britain and with a small number of sites in Europe. We are continuing to invest in this market that demands more choices, better quality, better availability, better planning and better service.
And we are investing in the people that are helping us to grow. These are the people who work in our factories; who work in our depots; who work in our distribution network. We work for the small builder across the country to ensure that they have the right product at the right price at the right time for their customer.
We are part of the local community. We have made over £2.5 million of donations, and we work with a wide range of charities on a local, national and international basis.
We are a long term business with considerable opportunity for growth and we continuously assess how we can operate more effectively and sustainably; where we can make the difference. In the next pages you will find lots of stories and examples both big and small or how Howdens ensures that it is worthwhile for all concerned.