The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 49: June/July 2020 | Page 10

7 NAMES FOR 7 WEEKS SEVEN WEEKS OF LOCKDOWN A recognition of those offering e In every crisis that has ever happened, heroes will emerge and Covid-19 is no different. Some will capture the imagination like that of 100-year-old Colonel Tom Moore who raised over £33m for NHS charities. Then there are the countless stories of keyworkers – both in the NHS, social care, retail, trade sectors who are out there trying to keep us safe in various different ways. We started honouring them by clapping every Thursday night. Lee Sheppard While it may seem it’s bad ne and information and updates on was also about those who provi darkest of days. In almost every street or com Wiltshire there are heroes who shopping, such as the local taxi shopping for free for self-isolat Lee Sheppard is Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy for Trowbridge-based company Apetito and its consumer arm Wiltshire Farm Foods. Lee represents the 2,500 direct and indirect staff of this large company which is the leading food producer in the health and social care sector in the UK. This company has been nominated for its support of the most vulnerable in our society. Lee said, “When this started we knew this was going to be challenging and our team have put in an amazing effort. We often serve the elderly and the most vulnerable in society, they are at risk during Covid19 and we knew they would face challenges when it came to food during this crisis. “Unlike many other businesses, we have seen our business increase in some areas of the country by up to 60 per cent. We’ve closed our offices and some of our staff have become frontline . They have gone into care homes, they have packed food and some have even volunteered and stayed away from their homes at this time to really show that we want to make a difference.” The company has implemented social distancing throughout its operation by staggering shifts, providing partitioning, creating one-way access and cashless system in their restaurant, dropping some menu choices for their customers where social distancing cannot happen during the production process – all on top of already strict hygiene control measures. Staff absence is now lower than five per cent. “Our motto is to ‘make a difference’ and all of the staff have lived up to that. Take Marius, who was on holiday in Poland and they said they were going to shut the border due to Covid19. He walked into Germany, took buses and trains through Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and the UK to get back to Trowbridge because he knew he was needed as part of the hygiene team – that’s the calibre of staff we are lucky to have on our team. “Also team members like Jenny Waterfield, one of our marketing executives and former graduate programme participant. She has been redeployed to a variety of roles including; customer service advisor, delivery driver and packer within our distribution centre. “As a business we’ve also made the decision not to seek access to any government support. We really believe that support is truly needed by other businesses, particularly SMEs, and that is where any money should be directed.” Apetito has gone above and beyond by: • Establishing a hotline for the most vulnerable so that they can order food and be heard – these are aimed at customers who are among the 1.5 million who were told by the NHS to self isolate. To date they’ve received 2,000 calls. • Created a portal for staff who have moved from back office positions to the frontline for them to share ideas, thoughts, feelings for the good of the company and its future. • Worked with DEFRA to come up with a pilot programme to help the 600,000 who are also vulnerable, yet not so vulnerable that they got the letter. It’s estimated half of these are over 70 years old. The aim here is to effectively signpost these people to help them access food and services. 6