In shaping our response to COVID-19, understanding the impact on our stakeholders has influenced the measures we adopted.

At the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, FareShare Greater Manchester was distributing enough food for around 200,000 meals each week.

North west communities, already home to some of the country’s most social and economically deprived areas, have suffered as a result of the economic stress and job losses caused by the pandemic. As a consequence, more people have turned to food banks to ensure there is food on their tables. Through our work helping vulnerable customers across the region and tackling affordability issues, we have a better understanding of the challenges faced by some of our communities and we wanted to help in some way.

Through a combination of director salary sacrifice, matched by the company, and employee donations, we have donated £240,000 to food distribution charity FareShare. The charity helps redistribute surplus food, which would otherwise go to waste, to 250 charities and community groups which provide meals to people in need – including children’s breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters and drug and alcohol rehab units. Lockdown has been particularly challenging and FareShare has been especially busy dealing with increased demand. At the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, FareShare Greater Manchester was distributing enough food for around 200,000 meals each week. Two thirds of people accessing FareShare food are children and families.

Our donation helps FareShare meet this increased demand and will provide families with 600,000 meals. Our funds have given FareShare much needed financial support and the money has been used to purchase a brand new long-wheel Mercedes Sprinter delivery van. This will deliver over six tonnes of food per week to frontline charities, schools and foodbanks across Greater Manchester.