GroceryAid, the national charity for the grocery industry, recently published its first ever Impact Report and even for me, working at the charity day in day out, the numbers were quite astonishing.

The report revealed that in 2017, GroceryAid spent £4.7m making life better for grocery people who found themselves in difficulties. Applications rose by 22% and for the first time employers have become the charity’s primary referrer – which is an important milestone as awareness in the grocery industry grows.

Of the 14,583 people helped, 62% were of working age, clearly reflecting the impact that the industry’s tough trading times are having on our colleagues. 

It wasn’t only financial intervention that people were reaching out for. The Helpline, which provides practical advice and emotional support on problems including traumatic incident support, mental health issues, finance worries, relationship breakdowns and carers support, saw a 26% increase in calls.

During the year we provided 98% more phone counselling sessions, our Relate relationship service saw a threefold increase and use of the Renovo return to work support service was up 75%.

For smaller independents who don’t have an Employee Assistance Programme in place, GroceryAid is indispensable. I encourage all business owners to ensure those working for them are fully aware of our services. 

We know that any unforeseen event can knock people into emotional and financial hardship. Our one-off crisis grants increased by 86% this year and as the industry goes through a restructure, we expect applications to continue to rise.