A.F. Blakemore & Son - A.F. Blakemore Education Matters Programme

Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Shortlisted, Reaccredited 2015, 2016

A.F. Blakemore supports schoolchildren in deprived areas where its staff live and work – improving their confidence, attainment and behaviour, while developing a pool of motivated future employees.


Social impacts

  • Supported 32,066 students in 230 schools, through 487 individual projects.
  • In evaluations, 93% of schools said A.F. Blakemore events had made a significant positive contribution to the school.
  • Fifty-eight schools said events had supported key areas of the curriculum.

Business impacts

  • Improved motivation among the programme’s 693 employee volunteers, 94% of whom said they were proud to work for a company that supports the community. Volunteers showed a turnover of 2.4%, compared with 29% overall turnover.
  • Coverage of the programme had an estimated PR value of £28,874.
  • Generated a potential recruitment saving of £150,720.

Launched in 2008, the Education Matters programme addresses the needs of the communities served by eight individual divisions of A.F. Blakemore, co-ordinated around a common strategy. Each division sits within separate food sectors and covers a diverse demographic, although many are based in areas of deprivation. Education is a unifying theme, common to all.

The vast majority of the company’s employees live and work in the same communities and many schools supported by the programme are ones employees, or their families, have attended.

Education Matters helps the company develop a pool of talented, motivated and loyal employees of the future. It does this through:

  • work placements

  • reading partner programmes

  • practice interviews

  • study tours of workplaces

  • enterprise events

  • mentoring

  • regeneration projects.

Evaluations of the programme’s 487 individual projects showed improvements in students’ confidence, behaviour, attainment and employability, among other areas. As a result, 93% of schools said A.F. Blakemore had made a significant positive difference.

At the same time, the programme aims to strengthen the company’s brand and reputation, develop skills and competency levels, boost staff morale and support retention. Employees are encouraged to participate in community activities as part of learning and development programmes.

Since 2008, employees have given 12,066 hours and the company has invested more than £600,000 in wage costs, plus monetary donations. The overall impact on the bottom line, in terms of PR, people development and potential recruitment savings, is estimated at more than £200,000.

- Private group -