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Colleague blogs

12/06/2020

Princes Colleague Blogs

The #hiddenheroes campaign has really struck a chord with us here at Princes. As a food and drinks manufacturer all of our colleagues have been kept incredibly busy – safe within the confines of social distancing measures, our key workers have been on site everyday maintaining (and on occasion smashing) our production targets and for others the challenges of remote working have become the norm. But in amongst the uncertainty of this crisis, we started to hear stories of colleagues going the extra mile – volunteering their time and donating their own money in a real effort to make a difference. We’d like to share their stories with you here to make sure our heroes aren’t hidden!

If any colleagues would like to submit a blog about what you’re doing during this crisis, please contact us on
community@princes.co.uk


Helping the Vulnerable

By Andy Evans

Andy Evans is an engineer at our Wisbech site, the home of Branston baked beans and Crosse & Blackwell soup. In addition to the demanding day job, Andy has been delivering food parcels to people living in the Wisbech area in his spare time…

I’ve been delivering these parcels for a charity called 50 Back Packs for some time. It’s an amazing cause

It is a not for profit organisation that started life as a foodbank for homeless people but when the COVID-19 outbreak started, they began to help the vulnerable and elderly.

I get a real sense of achievement from doing this. I was recently asked what drew me to volunteer for this particular cause and I can say that it was the “delivery” of parcels containing not only food but other essential items such as basic personal hygiene products to people who are vulnerable, and frightened to go out shopping for themselves because of this outbreak.

We also give out parcels to people on furlough who are receiving 80% of their pay, but as we all know if we lose 20% of our income some lesser paid people within the community would struggle to feed their families in the manner to which they were accustomed, and as I was not on furlough I thought it only right to help those vulnerable and some cases frightened and needy households within my local community.   

As I said, I get a real sense of achievement so I guess I’m doing this as much for me as for them.

Keep our beaches clean and safe…even in ‘lockdown’!

By Heather Hall

Heather Hall works in our head office based in the iconic Royal Liver Buildings in Liverpool city centre (though working from home at the moment). Heather feels that even though COVID19 is dominating our lives at the moment, we shouldn’t neglect our environment and in particular our local beaches where, people leave their litter behind instead of taking it with them.

I was asked how I started collecting litter from our local beach in Formby, Merseyside. It started for me when 3 local ladies posted on Facebook that they were setting up a litter picking group and needed volunteers so I thought I’d go and do “my bit for the community”, I enjoyed it so much I’ve been involved ever since. I’ve made some great friends and as an extra bonus, it keeps me fit! 

We used to meet up twice a week between April-October to keep our stunning beach and dunes free of rubbish so that everyone who visits there can enjoy its beauty.  It’s so disheartening to see the way many people are happy to leave their rubbish for others to pick up!  We also have the support of the National Trust Rangers. 

It’s interesting to see some of the things that either get washed up or unearthed in the sand dunes and we get to enjoy some amazing sunsets.The weather during part of lockdown was exceptionally warm and that brought huge levels of visitors to the beach, as many of the National Trust staff had been furloughed it meant bins weren’t being emptied so higher than normal levels of rubbish was left.  Added to the normal rubbish, were unprecedented numbers of disposable BBQs buried in the sand causing injury to people walking barefoot, this added to the broken glass was making the areas not just unsightly but unsafe too.

There is an abundance of wildlife in the dunes and the litter could cause them serious harm.  

I wish I had the answer to how to eradicate the litter in this beautiful area but sadly, the majority of it is left my people being too lazy to take it home or dispose of it responsibly.  Hopefully when Deposit Return Schemes are introduced in England it may encourage more people to return/recycle their bottles and with new technology/innovation evolving it may mean than more of the litter that is left is less harmful to the environment.


Helping an orphanage in Surinam

By Awind Alakhramsing

Awind Alakhramsing works in our Princes Rotterdam office for the finance department. He was recently nominated for a Pride in Prices award because of his work within the department, which included a cash award. Awind is planning to go to Surinam, his home land, with his family in Aug 20 (dependent on how the COVID-19 issue develops and when we are allowed to fly again), and here he talks about how he’s going to put the money to good use.

You see there’s an orphanage ‘Kinderhuis Sanatan Dharm’, near to the town where I grew up. There are around 80 children living there at any one time who are looked after by local volunteers and a lovely couple who manage the facility.  I’m lucky enough to be able to go home once a year and I like to go to visit the orphanage for at least one of the days that I’m there. As the orphanage is so close to my heart, when I received the award, I didn’t hesitate for a moment and decided to use the money to help the children enjoy a day of fun whilst my family and I are there. We’re all really looking forward to seeing all their happy faces!


Caring for for Care Homes

By Paul Cook

Paul Cook from Long Sutton noticed that some of the colleague product parcels Princes were giving to Key Workers had not been collected, which set him thinking…

COVID19 has hit so many people and not least, the Care Homes in my area. They’re key workers looking after extremely vulnerable people, and being forgotten about in my opinion. It is true that we, as food production workers are classed as key workers ourselves but I’m just grateful to have a job roll where I’m able to keep on working through it all.

I pass Amberley Hall Care Home, daily whilst out walking my dog. One day while I was on my walk, I saw a lady trying to see her mother through a window at the care home. She seemed quite upset so I asked her if she was ok. She said that she was worried about not just her mum, but also the rest of the residents in the care home. This was because their families are not allowed to visit because of.  The smallest of things that those visitors bring them like bottles of squash, fruit juice and other drinks etc. meant a lot to the residents and the staff. Now of course, they’re not getting anything.

It was a few weeks later that I noticed a lot of my colleagues from work had not picked up their food parcels that Princes were providing for us during this crisis and this gave me an idea as these parcels would be ideal for the residents and care workers at Amberley Hall. That was when I decided to get in touch with our HR colleagues at the Long Sutton site, from there I arrange to sort and deliver the unclaimed parcels to Amberley Hall.

Everyone at Amberley Hall were lovely and so grateful to receive what myself and my fiancée Malgorzata Worytko (who is also team leader of Technical QA night shift) brought for them.

We felt truly humbled.


For the Love of Scrubs

By Lynne Francey

Lynne Francey works at Princes head office, based in the Royal Liver buildings in Liverpool. She is always on the go and ably assists her team not only with work but by creating after hours, quizzes & a team blog to keep them entertained during lockdown. Whilst a number of colleagues across the group have been busy volunteering in many different ways, Lynne’s love for sewing has seen her join  ‘For the Love of Scrubs, Liverpool Women’s and Alder Hey Hospitals’,  a Facebook (FB)hub. The hub has been sewing scrubs and scrub bags for nurses and doctors based at the world famous hospitals, through the crisis.

I had heard about the shortage of scrubs at hospitals across the UK; I just wanted to help and put my love for sewing to good use during lockdown and hopefully make a difference. Both hospitals were so appreciative but Alder Hey especially was overwhelmed by the support.

There are many FB hubs across Merseyside assigned to various hospitals. This hub was close to my home and to my heart having volunteered for 4 years at The Women’s Hospital.

Originally I funded the purchase of 40 metres of fabric myself, however, the hub organisers had a crowd funding page and managed to raise over £700 so I was refunded. John Lewis was brilliant and donated over 900 metres of fabric to the hub too.

So far, our hub has delivered over 500 sets of scrubs and 400 scrub bags. Amazingly there are more sewers than fabric so for now I’m not sewing anymore scrubs. I have thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie the hub created and it gave me a sense of achievement by helping others.


Fighting against COVID19

Claire Payne is an Executive Assistant normally based at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, currently working from her home in Liverpool. Claire wanted to do something to help during this time of crisis, so she did a phone around to find out about volunteering and…

Obviously my work at Princes is a priority so in my spare time, I’m a NHS volunteer and it’s proving to be a very rewarding (not to mention humbling) experience.  

I started in April 2020 and since then I’ve done a variety of things:

  • Check in and Chat calls – this is with isolated and vulnerable people including VE Veterans
  • Collecting prescriptions – does what it says on the tin – I take fulfilled prescriptions from the local chemist and deliver the medication to people who have isolated
  • Shopping for essential items – I also do shopping for the vulnerable and deliver it to their door.

I’ve been provided with an app on my smart phone and when I’m needed for a particular service a siren sounds – it’s so loud I almost had a heart attack the first time it went off!! It’s really is a great system though.

It struck me doing all of these activities that many of the people I go to wouldn’t see anyone from one week to the next if it wasn’t for my visit, which frankly made me very sad but at the same time has made me feel even better about what I’m doing.