I was once asked what my dream job would be. It was a serious question and so I gave an honest answer. It was to be chief executive of GroceryAid. Why, you may ask? Two reasons: I passionately believe in our industry and the people within it; and I had long admired the charity and the difference it makes to grocery people’s lives.

Convenience has been key in shaping me in this trade. In 1995 while I was at IGD, I commenced an ambitious project to measure the size and value of the UK c-store market. The project took me round the country to visit many excellent chains and I fell in love with the sector – the concept, the people and the vitality of continual reinvention.

One thing I never measured, though, was the number of people working in the sector. The excellent research done by the ACS points to almost 400,000 – that is a huge number and one that has a special resonance for me now at GroceryAid.

We are the trade charity for this industry, here to help those who have made the sector what it is when they fall on hard times. One practical example is our free Helpline (08088 02 11 22), which offers advice on health and wellbeing, relationships, debt and post-impact support. We also assist thousands of beneficiaries and their families financially with emergency grants, essential items and longer-term regular payments.

GroceryAid is a unique organisation. We rely entirely on funding from our trade and spent £4.3m last year on supporting beneficiaries. If you want to find out more about us, then get in touch 
on steve.barnes@groceryaid.org.uk.