THE family ethos on which Warburtons was founded in Bolton 138 years ago is being rolled out in the communities across the UK where the bread giant has depots and bakeries.
The bakery company, which launched from a shop in Blackburn Road in 1876, has been helping the community it serves for generations.
Executive director Brett Warburton is keen to emphasise it is a family value that has prevailed in the firm’s DNA long before the Government’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy was introduced.
Warburtons has created its own bespoke version of CSR which the firm calls “Families Matter” and it is a strategy which straddles the 26 sites stretching from Aberdeen in the north, Paddock Wood in Kent, Newton Abbot in Devon and Port Talbot in West Wales.
“Families Matter is the work Warbies does in the communities in which it operates as a business,” said Mr Warburton.
“We talk a lot about being a family business, our heritage and how my great great grandfather’s Aunty Ellen started baking bread from a grocer’s shop in Blackburn Road.
“Those values have been prevalent throughout our history, but Warburton’s only stepped outside Lancashire to become a national entity within the last 30 years. We have to make sure we don’t just plant ourselves in other communities without continuing the same way we have done in Bolton.”
Warburtons has been listed by the Grocer publication as the second biggest brand apart from Coca Cola in the UK and is also reputed to be Britain’s most purchased brand.
“CSR is nothing new — not to us anyway,” said Mr Warburton. “But if you are not careful, the work you do in the various communities becomes a little bit scatter gun.
“Our aim is to be consistent in our methodology in all the communities where we have a base.”
The Warburtons Family Matters national strategy is being steered by community and corporate responsibility manager Michael McDermott from the headquarters at Back O’th Bank House, in Hereford Street.
“Our requirements are that the project must have the three Ts: trust, transparency and transformation,” said Mr McDermott. “The projects we help must have those three components.”
Key partners in delivering the help locally has been Bolton Lads and Girls Club, of which fellow executive director Ross Warburton — Brett’s cousin — is president.
Projects include a job club which engaged 300 young people with help on careers advice, compilation of CVs, advice on interview technique and financial literacy skills, at a cost of nearly £9,000.
A passport to work scheme offered to 16 young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) helped turn around the lives of all participants at a cost of £11,000.
Up to £16,557 was spent on an ongoing young careers project on which a mentoring co-ordinator engaged with 12 young carers, aged between eight and 18.
They were matched with a trained volunteer adult mentor for 12 months to gain emotional and practical support from a trusted and reliable role model.
A 10-week citizenship course for disadvantaged young people is also ongoing.
Meanwhile, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust has been given £20,000 to support a skills programme set up to tackle youth unemployment. The Employability Project provides young people with knowledge, skills and experience needed to succeed in the workplace.
Other partners include housing charity Bolton at Home, where a digital inclusion project provides a new IT outreach service across Bolton (Deane, Johnson Fold, Tonge Moor and Breightmet) at a cost of £15,000.
Enterprise in East Bolton is delivering mentoring and workshops to 10 individuals in the Breightmet area over a 12-month period, and a financial literacy and affordable credit course is helpingpeople with financial/debt advice provided with the help of the Citizens Advice Bureau, Money Skills, Hoot and Bolton at Home’s income management team delivered across three UCAN centres at a cost of £15,000.
Nearly £5,000 has been donated to Bolton Smart Enterprise CIC to deliver a six-month programme to raise educational achievements and aspirations of vulnerable young people. This includes a learning/support plan setting out needs of individuals.
It also involves a basic life/skills enrichment programme on which participants will receive accred-itation up to Level Two in numeracy, literacy, life skills and job search skills programmes.
Bakery general manager Viviennne Jones said £42 million had been invested on the site to make it one of the most modern in Europe.
She added: “Up to 380 people work here and it’s a really vibrant place.”