11 Oct 2018
The way shopping is changing has made me reflect on my own role overseeing 26 supermarkets in and around my home town.
I’ve worked in retail for many years, in and around East Anglia for four, and I’ve always been fascinated by the way people shop. It’s a subject people want to chat about with me more and more because retail is so often making headlines, both in the national news and here in Norwich.
Forty per cent of us in Norwich believe retail is the industry with the biggest impact in driving economic prosperity in the area, and when you consider it accounts for 11% of jobs in the East of England, you can see why.
For me and my colleagues, Tesco is a place where we work to support our families. We employ more than 1,000 full-time colleagues in Norwich in jobs that help them get on, on their own terms.
Take Harvey at our Sprowston Tesco Extra. Harvey started with us when he was just 16 years old, working in the evenings while completing his A-Levels. As time went on, it was clear he was well-suited to – and really enjoys – working in retail, so we’ve given him the support he needs to progress. He’s now 23 and is the Grocery Lead Manager at the Sprowston store, and recently bought his first home.
Our contribution goes a lot further than being an employer though. Earlier this year, KPMG published a report examining Tesco’s contribution in communities across the country. We call it Value in Your Town. The report opened my eyes to the contribution we make to communities across Norwich and the UK as a whole.
Take the long-term supplier partnerships we have. We work with more than 20 suppliers in and around Norwich, like Anglia Free Range Eggs. Based in Attleborough, they’ve been supplying Tesco since 2012 with free range eggs from farms across the region. We aim to be more than a customer to Harry and the team at Anglia – we see ourselves as genuine partners. It’s an approach we take across the board with suppliers and is founded on us helping to grow demand for products, giving much-needed certainty about their future, and fostering their innovation.
Food waste is another subject really close to our hearts at Tesco. Our Community Food Connection programme, delivered in partnership with FareShare, the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, links our stores in Norwich to local charities and community groups to ensure that no good food goes to waste. In Norwich, we’ve donated enough food to provide 4,200 meals to people who need them, with inspiring groups like ENYP PICNIC Project working tirelessly to create meals for families in the region who need it most.
I’m clear that my number one job is still to make it easier for Norwich’s families to enjoy good quality, affordable food. But I’m proud to be part of something even bigger than that – from helping local businesses grow, to creating rewarding jobs, to giving back to the local community.
People in the East of England have mixed feelings about how the general economic situation in our city will change over the next 12 months – 38% think it will get a little better, 46% think it’ll get a little worse. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can say that we’ll keep working hard to serve Norwich better in the future.
For more information on Tesco’s contribution in your local area, visit tescoplc.com/valueinyourtown