RIA 2017 winner: Multiple Community Retailer of the Year

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With more than 5,500 employees and 290 company-owned Spar stores across England and Wales, Blakemore Retail is one of the largest convenience store operators in the UK.

The company is committed to the local communities it serves and actively encourages all its employees to make a significant, positive contribution to the community.

Staff members have the opportunity to undertake a wide range of activities every year to help support local good causes, be that through volunteering or fundraising initiatives.

Since 2007, Blakemore Retail has supported the NSPCC as its charity of the year and over the last 12 months its stores raised more than £300,000 through in-store fundraising activities such as cake sales, dress-down days, sponsored walks, marathons and head-shaves.

In addition, employees raised a further £40,000 for good causes chosen by staff. Groups supported include schools, hospices, community groups and football teams.

Community engagement is included in staff training, while a weekly newsletter keeps store managers informed about activity across the network.

The Blakemore Foundation supports all volunteering projects with a donation of up to £300, while there is also a match-funding scheme worth up to £200 a project.

One judge commented: “Blakemore have community at the heart of their business, all the way from the company’s corporate vision down to personal development reviews for their staff. And the amount of money they have raised for good causes is huge.”