The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall paid a surprise visit to the Asda distribution centre in Bristol on Thursday to thank the workers there for playing their part in keeping the food supply chain active during COVID-19 lockdown.
Clarence House social media wrote that the 700 workers at the Bristol distribution centre “have worked tirelessly to cope with the increased demand – changing shift patterns, postponing holidays, and making overnight deliveries to ensure extra food supplies reached stores for the following day.”
Prince Charles paid the visit in his role as President of Business in the Community and also heard how Asda has been working with the organisation’s National Business Response Network, which links business support with the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prince of Wales founded Business in the Community almost 40 years ago as a way to “champion responsible business,” according to its website. Asda has been involved with the organisation since the pandemic began, donating £5 million in logistics and essential services funding, and donating the assistance of their food donation programme.
“This vital funding has helped FareShare get vans on the road and helped 230 food banks in the Trussell Trust network set up e-referral systems so vulnerable families can be referred for a food parcel either online or over the phone.”
The Bristol distribution centre has made over 12,500 deliveries to stores across southwest England since the pandemic began, with its staff members left to “cope with the increased demand, changing shift patterns, postponing holidays and making overnight deliveries to ensure food supplies reach stores in time,” among other tasks to ensure no interruptions of the food supply chain.
“It was a real honour to have met The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall,” said Richard Sigward, one of Asda’s distribution centre workers, in a blog post on Asda’s website.
“It was a big surprise as we didn’t know anything about it. It’s all been a bit overwhelming as we’re just doing our jobs—but it’s nice to be recognised for all the hard work over the last few months. We’ve all really pulled together at the depot to ensure food supplies have kept moving across the country and I’m really proud I’ve been able to play my part.”
Asda’s General Manager for the Bristol distribution centre, Chris Tilly, said in a blog post on Asda’s website: “We’re really honoured that Their Royal Highnesses took the time to come and express their thanks to our colleagues for their hard work during the pandemic, we’ve been keeping it as a surprise for weeks.
“The team work has been fantastic right across our business from home office departments, the logistics function and those at the coal face working in the stores. I’m incredibly proud of my 700 colleagues and managers who have really gone above and beyond to keep vital food supplies on the road – and it’s great to see they’ve all been recognised today.”