Over 100 Sainsbury's colleagues, with responsibilities as carers, had a once in a lifetime experience today as part of the Queen's Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant. Sainsbury's was the first major corporate partner of the Pageant, dedicated a boat to celebrate the achievements of a number of the company's colleagues with caring responsibilities, as part of the 1,000-strong flotilla, making its way down the Thames.
Jacki Connor, Director of Colleague Engagement at Sainsbury's, said: "Carers are unsung heroes who spend a huge part of their life helping others. We decided to use our association with the Pageant as a way to say thank you. Today's a chance to be part of something truly special and memorable and celebrate their achievements."
Lawrence Pepperrell works at the Sainsbury's store in Wimbledon and cares for his wife, Suzanne. Both were on the boat today. Lawrence said: "We are so pleased that we feel valued, not just for what we do at work but for what we do outside of work. We've had a fantastic weekend and have been proud to be part of these celebrations".
Paul Hoskins, from the Avenue Road Local store near Bexleyheath, said: "We've had an absolutely fantastic day, its great to be part of the celebrations and its lovely that all these special people have been recognised for what they do."
Sainsbury's has a wider programme of activity to support carers. The company has trialled a major initiative to help identify and support the nation's hidden carers in partnership with the Department of Health.
This involved Sainsbury's colleagues working with local Health Trusts to develop skills to identify customers who have caring responsibilities and put them in touch with local agencies who can offer support.
Pharmacists working in Sainsbury's stores also received coaching to help identify customers who provide care for ill or disabled loved ones. During a trial of this initiative with the Torbay Carers' Trust earlier in the year, customers collecting a prescription on behalf of another person would be offered the support of Torbay Carers staff based in-store. Carers often collect prescriptions for those they have responsibility for with up to 85 per cent of prescriptions nationwide not collected by the patient. For more details on the hidden carers trial please http://www.carersuk.org
Sainsbury's has been heavily involved in the Jubilee celebrations this weekend. This has included the Jubilee Family Festival in Hyde Park on Saturday 2 June and Sunday 3 June and the planting of 60 woods as part of the Woodlands Trust Jubilee Woods projects.