GroceryAid reported a rise in demand for its services during “one of the biggest challenges the trade charity has faced in its 164 year history”.
In the GroceryAid 2020/21 Impact Report, the industry charity recorded that 17,492 incidences of support were given to colleagues from manufacturers, convenience stores, wholesalers, supermarkets, distribution, sales and support functions. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of colleagues helped were of working age.
The charity spent £5m delivering emotional, practical and financial support to colleagues in need over the past year with 4,200 colleagues receiving financial support.
GroceryAid also reported that in 2020, more than 13,000 colleagues contacted the 24/7 Helpline, with a 148% increase in Relationship Counselling and 40% of all law advice sessions being Family Law.
It said that employers remain the top referrer to the charity for colleagues in need with the main reason for applications being financial hardship triggered by illness.
GroceryAid president Charles Wilson said: “We anticipated rising demand for the GroceryAid services and were able to provide assistance to record numbers reaching out for support. This was possible as a result of the generosity from trade in backing the charity through an extraordinarily difficult period. This has been one of the biggest challenges the trade charity has faced in its 164 year history and the Impact Report demonstrates how we were able to accelerate our support available to colleagues when it mattered most.”
GroceryAid welfare director Mandi Leonard added that there’s still a lot to be done. “We still have a long way to go for financial and emotional recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Covid-19 Fund remains open for those who need Mental Health Support, Financial Grants and Bereavement Financial Assistance. We know that normality for many of our colleagues is still far away. We will continue to be the rainbow after the storm and we are here for all colleagues in the grocery industry.”