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Reflecting on 2020

I am writing this, not for the benefit of Stateside Foods, but as an employee who feels incredibly lucky, in what has been the most difficult year many of us have faced.

We are fast approaching Christmas and many families are facing new worries this year because of furloughing, redundancies and business closures, and it is in seeing so many struggle, that I have really taken time to reflect and acknowledge just how fortunate I am.

I joined Stateside Foods 14 years ago, thinking that it would be a temporary move until I found myself a ‘proper job’. Knowing nothing about Food Manufacture, I don’t mind admitting, I had quite low expectations for the work I would be doing. Little did I know, that the team I was joining would quickly feel like family and that I would be given countless opportunities for self development and progression.

I now find myself, in an industry that is going from strength to strength, feeding the nation throughout the pandemic and now named as key workers. I count myself lucky that I have job security that few can enjoy and not only that, I work for an employer that really cares about its people and community.

At the start of the pandemic, we asked for better mental health provisions and we got them. Managers received awareness training, staff were trained as Mental Health First Aiders and everyone was provided with free access to an Employee Assistance Programme and 24 hour helpline.

There was an inevitable fear among workers back in March / April but safety measures and processes were quickly put in place to keep everyone safe and whatever the recommendations were from the government, the management team went a little bit further to air on the side of caution.

Stateside didn’t place anyone on furlough, refusing to use emergency funds at the expense of the tax payer, when other businesses used it to cut costs rather than for emergency, as it was intended. Rather, frontline staff and those that were redeployed into production roles that couldn’t be done from home, were thanked with a cash bonus.

Even money, not spent on events that would usually have taken place, but have had to be cancelled, has been used, not to save on costs, but to support the many local charities that are supporting local people in their hour of need. These charity services included a bereavement service for the young members of the Bolton Lads & Girls Club, the Bolton Hospice that have seen their annual fundraising events cancelled, and Fort Alice, Urban Outreach and others that are putting together food and toy hampers for families and children this Christmas.

I can honestly say that I have never been as grateful or proud to work for and with such a fantastic team of people. Stateside really does value its employees and it has never been clearer than it has this year – 2020; the year we got through together with the care and support of a thoughtful, kind and caring employer.

I would just like to say Thank You.

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On Tuesday 8th March, we celebrated International Women’s Day here at SSF