SPAR NI pandemic strategy wins trophy at prestigious workplace awards

August 16, 2022 IN THE CATEGORY: Awards and prizes, Responsible retailing

  • Jo Claque (left), Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at Queens University Belfast, presents Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at SPAR NI Henderson Group, with the award for ‘Corporate Social Responsibility – Large’ at the recent Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards.

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SPAR NI’s response towards its communities during the pandemic has picked up another award at a recent ceremony. The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards returned after a two-year Covid hiatus, where SPAR NI operator Henderson Group picked up the Corporate Social Responsibility award for their ‘There for You’ campaign. This campaign saw the team quickly pivot their robust CSR strategy to focus on those who needed support most in the communities the brand services when the pandemic hit.

It is the second award for the campaign, which sought to improve brand perception of SPAR’s community credentials, address key issues facing communities due to the pandemic, and support community groups and charities by raising £230,000 within nine months.

Strategic partnerships

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group, which operates under licence the SPAR brand in Northern Ireland, commented, “We met our goals by developing strategic partnerships to provide virtual versions of our usual Sports Days for school children at home. We created a bank of insightful content online while driving as much fundraising as possible for our charity partner Marie Curie which was facing a sudden halt in usual revenue sources.

“We also launched the Community Cashback Grant where we boosted 16 community groups and organisations with £20,000, while also setting up more home delivery services to reach the vulnerable in our communities, as well as further supporting local food banks.

“We are so proud of the initiative our teams took when it came to facing the pandemic, pivoting to be there for our shoppers and retailers and to advance campaigns and tech which were accelerated due to the sudden lockdowns and restrictions.”

Post campaign surveys showed SPAR ranking number one for community credentials, with 83% of respondents agreeing SPAR supported communities. SPAR and EUROSPAR contributed to a donation of over £783,000 to charities in 2020, raising over three times their target and bringing their grand total fundraising figure to over £7,000,000.

60th year of SPAR in Northern Ireland

Bronagh Luke continued, “Going into 2021, our 60th year of SPAR in Northern Ireland, we made it a real celebration and drive for charitable giving. We finally celebrated the milestone with a gala ball earlier this year, with £160,000 raised in just one night for Marie Curie and Cancer Fund for Children.

“Being back amongst the great and good of the Northern Ireland business community at the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards was a fantastic celebration of the wonderful employers here, of which we’re very proud to be one of the biggest. Congratulations to all the finalists on the night!”

Source: SPAR UK

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The UK became a SPAR member in 1956 when SPAR International granted the SPAR licence to a group of independent wholesalers. As a result, there are now five regional partners in the UK. A central office in London provides national marketing and buying services for the group.

SPAR has led the highly competitive convenience market in the UK for many years. Always innovative, the five regional partners continue to grow the brand. SPAR UK comprises independently owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores. These include forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhood stores.

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