CEO of Iceland, corporate activist and philanthropist Richard Walkerthis week teamed up with his local Community Foundation to host an invitation-only dinner for local business leaders from Cheshire and Warrington. The event took place at Chester Zoo, and was kindly sponsored by BCMS and Evelyn Partners. Guests at the event includeLord Lieutenant of Cheshire Lady Redmond MBE, her predecessor and Patron of CCF David Briggs, High Sheriff of Cheshire Jeannie France-Hayhurst, and Richard Walker’s father Sir Malcom Walker, alongside almost a hundred other guests of the Community Foundation and sponsors, all of whom were excited to hear from the CEO and author.
Cheshire Community Foundation (CCF) raises funds to support hundreds of amazing small charities and voluntary groups across the whole of Cheshire and Warrington. They connect people and companies who would like to make a difference, with those most in need of help. Richard Walker is a Cheshire resident who is passionate about the environment, runs the Iceland Foundation and has recently published a book about ethical policies in business, The Greengrocer. Guests heard Richard’s story of how the business has evolved to reduce carbon, respond to the pandemic, and now support their customers through the cost-of-living crisis. Ethical principles have been a driving force in his career and he is becoming a regular voice on national news, representing capitalism with a conscience.
Iceland have introduced a number of measures to respond to the cost-of-living crisis and food insecurity among their customers. They have partnered with Fair For You to offer the Iceland Food Club, offering short term microloans to help spread the cost of the weekly food shop, which so often spikes during school holidays. “We’ve also committed to a £1 price freeze on our value frozen range, we’re running energy saving workshops and this weekend we will start selling air fryers, which are cheaper to run and a healthy option too. They’ll be retailing at £35 which is a loss-leader for us but it’s worth it; we know some of our customers are trying to feed their family for just £25 a week.” said Richard.
Cheshire Community Foundation are also passionate about food poverty andhave worked strategically with Warrington Borough Council to create a Food Network, eradicating waste and ensuring emergency provision reaches all areas where it’s needed. But often food poverty is just one of the issues facing a family – debt, mental health needs, unemployment and health inequalities are usually also chipping away at a family’s stability. That’s why CCF are committed to making grants to charities tackling all these issues and more, to break those cycles of poverty that are so difficult to escape.
Richard Walker is an ambassador of Alzheimers Research UK, a charity close to his heart after his mother, Lady Walker, lost her battle with Alzheimers in 2021. Iceland are now labelling products with a QR code to promote preventative lifestyle changes to aid brain health. Iceland were also the first high street retailer to introduce a ‘silver hour’ during the
pandemic, ensuring older customers could shop more safely, and now to combat the cost of living crisis, older customers get a 10% discount on their groceries every Tuesday. Cheshire Community Foundation are committed to supporting older people too, through their grants programmes running across Cheshire to help grassroots charities meet the needs in their communities, including keeping people warm this winter amid the energy crisis
Zoe Sheppard, CEO of CCF said: “Richard Walker is an inspirational voice, advocating for people and planet even during this turbulent time. We are so honoured to share a stage with him and delighted to hear we have so many shared values too.
The room was filled with some of the North West’s most exciting business leaders, and we all left inspired to do more. We can’t wait to see the partnerships that develop following such an uplifting evening, which we hope will benefit the most vulnerable in our local communities.”