Tesco enhances its support for the UK Armed Forces

Tesco has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the military by re-signing the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Covenant.

The ceremony took place at a specially organised celebration event for the retailer’s Armed Forces Network.

Tesco was the first retailer to pledge its name to the Covenant in 2014, which publicly commits it to supporting serving personnel, veterans and reservists.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO said:

“Tesco has a long association with the Armed Forces dating back to our founder Jack Cohen, and we are very proud of the Armed Forces family which exists in our business today.

“As we approach our centenary in 2019, it is important that we recognise the link our founder had to the Armed Forces and the key part it played in his creation of Tesco.

“The re-signing of the Covenant, together with our celebration event for the Armed Forces Network, enhances our commitment to the serving and former service personnel we are honoured to count as colleagues.”

Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler CBE, Head Reserves, Reserve Forces said:

“As one of the largest employers of reservists and former service personnel, Tesco’s record as a forces-friendly organisation speaks for itself and has been instrumental in helping the company to achieve a Defence Employer Recognition Gold award. It is pleasing to see the retailer strengthen its pledges under the Armed Forces Covenant, particularly by doing more to help its 600 reservist staff to meet their training commitments.

"On behalf of Defence I would like to thank Tesco for all they are doing to support our personnel and thus contribute to Defence capability.”

Around 300 Tesco colleagues are members of the supermarket’s Armed Forces Network.

An event will be held every year to further strengthen relations between members and give them the opportunity to socialise with one another.

The re-signing of the Covenant commits Tesco to uphold its key principles, including:

  • Supporting veterans who have left the Armed Forces with employment at Tesco
  • Aiding spouses and partners of serving personnel to get jobs at Tesco stores
  • Promoting the Reserve Forces to Tesco colleagues
  • Ensuring flexibility around life changes due to partners’ military service so colleagues are not disadvantaged

Tesco already backs a number of groups and organisations, with links to the Armed Forces, through its Bags of Help initiative.

This year groups supporting serving personnel, veterans and their families will have the chance to share in over £100,000 of funding through a dedicated round of voting across November and December. Customers and colleagues will continue to be able to support the Poppy Appeal, with collections in all stores, distribution centres and offices across the UK until Sunday 11 November.

Tesco is already one of the biggest employers of serving and former servicemen and women, with thousands of veterans working in roles across the business.

The retailer is also one of the biggest employers of reservists and has a record as a forces-friendly organisation – Tesco founder Jack Cohen set up his first market stall in 1919 with his demob money after coming home from active service during the First World War.


Notes to Editors

Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative will be supporting armed forces charities in 15 voting regions:

  • Aldershot
  • Bury St Edmunds
  • Catterick Garrison
  • Colchester
  • Edinburgh
  • Greenock
  • High Wycombe
  • Kensington
  • Lincoln
  • Plymouth
  • Portsmouth
  • Salisbury
  • Sandhurst
  • Tidworth
  • Trowbridge

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