Andrew Thornton argues that “Connecting with the Community is a key part of being a Heartful Business.”

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I spent most of yesterday connecting in different ways with the community side of Thornton’s Budgens. Last year, one of our major achievements was implementing our pledge that we would not throw away any edible food through a major project with Centrepoint and Sustain (The Mayor of London’s food policy arm) featured in our Heart Programme video; this means that our surplus food is used to feed the homeless. While the ability of charities such as Centrepoint to meet their commitment to collecting food daily continues to be a challenge, we are very dedicated to this cause.

As a result of local coverage of this, yesterday I was invited to speak at an assembly of a local junior school as part of their ‘Food Waste Week’ (which is run nationally by schools). There, during a half hour session, the school’s Eco Team told the story of food waste and then I worked with the whole school developing ways that they at home and in school could reduce their food waste. I suspect last night many of the young children of Belsize had some fascinating discussions with their parents about sell by dates, what food they were wasting and ways to waste less. The delving into their compost bins might have been a bit messier. And that in so doing, the annual food waste in Camden may have dropped slightly.

So I feel I made a contribution and also had great fun.  What a lively and bright group of young people.

At the end of last week, we were short listed for the Budgens Community Store of the Year and I was asked to make a submission on why we should considered for this. So fresh from being out making a difference in our community, I spent a fair chuck on time behind my computer tapping away at our achievements in this area. Read Thornton’s Budgens – Community Store of the Year  for a brief overview of why I feel our store deserves to win. I certainly found it energising to see all of what we have done on a few sheets of paper and to realise that while it is great to contribute to society, it does make good business sense as well.

When on December 27 we discovered that Tesco where planning to open a site near us, we were flooded with support and a whole organisation was created to try and stop Tesco coming. I have been told that by many people that the reason they have got involved in this is simply as a result of how much we have given to our community over the last eight years and their desire that we continue to thrive. Whether we succeed in stopping Tesco or not, I know that we have the backing and support of our community – a powerful ally to have in the highly competitive grocery world we operate in.

Warm Wishes


Andrew Isaac Thornton