24 Sep 2018
I’ve been overseeing Tesco stores in and around Bristol and the South West for two years now, and I’ve always been fascinated by the way people shop.
It’s a subject more and more people have wanted to chat to me about recently.
That’s because retail is so often making headlines at the moment, both in the national news and here in Bristol. A third of Bristolians believe retail is the industry with the biggest impact in driving economic prosperity in the area, and when you consider it accounts for 10% of jobs in the South West, you can see why. The way shopping is changing has made me reflect on my own role overseeing supermarkets in and around my home town.
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 Bristol in jobs that help them get on, on their own terms.
Take Alexa at our Staple Hill Metro store. Alexa has two young daughters, so being able to work flexibly around them really matters. We’ve been able to offer her the hours that work for her, and she’s also taken advantage of training that will help her now and in the future, recently completing our apprenticeship scheme with a distinction.
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 Bristol and the UK as a whole.
Take the long-term supplier partnerships we have. We work with more than 40 suppliers in and around Bristol, supporting around 5,000 jobs. One you’ll all be familiar with is Yeo Valley, the family-run farm in Somerset which we’ve been working with for more than 25 years. We aim to be more than a customer to Yeo Valley – we see ourselves as genuine partners, helping to grow demand for products, giving much-needed certainty about their future, and fostering their innovation.
That’s why you’ll often spot great new Yeo Valley products on our shelves - including their brilliant Left-Yeovers range, which uses leftover organic fruit and has helped raise more than £50,000 for the food redistribution charity, FareShare.
Food waste is rightly a subject really close to our hearts at Tesco. Our Community Food Connection programme, delivered in partnership with FareShare, links our stores in Bristol to local charities and community groups to ensure that no good food goes to waste. In Bristol, we’ve donated enough food to provide 8,500 meals to people who need them.
We’re also making a positive contribution in Bristol through our Bags of Help scheme, where the money raised by the sale of carrier bags is being used to fund local projects that have been nominated by Tesco colleagues and customers. Last year we donated over £260,000 to community projects in and around Bristol – in fact, maybe you were one of the customers who voted for Friends of Redcatch Park to install new gym equipment, giving residents somewhere clean, safe and fun to get active.
I’m clear that my number one job is still to make it easier for Bristol’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.
Bristolians have mixed feelings about how the general economic situation in our city will change over the next 12 months – 19% think it will get a little better, 29% 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 Bristol better in the future.
For more information on Tesco’s contribution in your local area, click here.
 ONS Business Register and Employment Data, 2016