Press release

Waitrose wins Big Society Award

Community Matters Scheme has now donated £10 million to charity.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron today presented Waitrose with the latest Big Society Award for its Community Matters Scheme which has now donated £10m to charity.

The innovative scheme allows shoppers to choose three charitable causes each month to receive a £1,000 donation from their store by voting at the check-out.

With more than 270 stores now taking part Waitrose has given £10 million to good causes since the scheme was set up in 2008. Online shoppers are also now able to take part by voting for three national causes to receive a share of £25,000 every three months.

The Prime Minister met with staff and charities who have been involved in the scheme at the Waitrose warehouse in Bracknell today to present the award. 

He also heard further plans from Waitrose to invest £4m in local communities in 2012 through Community Matters, as well as two new community initiatives. 

The Partner Volunteering scheme will see thousands of Waitrose employees give a total of 75,000 hours of volunteering with local charities during 2012 while  ‘Get into’ programmes with The Prince’s Trust will offer nearly a hundred two-week work placements to young people who are not in education or employment and apprenticeship schemes. 

Some of the projects to benefit include:

  • Bracknell’s Citizens Advice Bureau Bracknell (CAB) - has received donations from Waitrose in recent years for IT equipment and to help keep the CAB open on Fridays
  • The Lord’s Taverners (the official Charity of recreational cricket and the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports Charity) - has received a number of donations to help buy mini buses and support the running of the charity

 The Prime Minister also heard plans for the John Lewis Partnership to formally launch a 12-month apprenticeship scheme to give young people an insight into the workings of the business in 2012.

Presenting Waitrose with the award, the Prime Minister said:

The Big Society Awards are all about recognising the work that people like Waitrose are doing to bring about what I care about most: a bigger, stronger society. And Community Matters is helping to do exactly that.

Those green tokens have already seen £10 Million donated to more than 30 thousand local good causes. I’ve heard first-hand this morning from some of the charities who have benefited -  they are the greatest testament to the difference this scheme makes.

I would like to congratulate Waitrose staff around the country for the contribution they have already made to their local communities and I wish them every success with their new employee volunteering, work placement and apprenticeship programmes over the coming year.

Accepting the award, Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose said:

We are delighted to have won a Big Society Award, an accolade which means a great deal to us.  We believe it’s more important than ever that we play an active role in supporting and safeguarding the future of the areas we trade in and the people who live there.  It’s also essential that, in these difficult economic times, we give young people opportunities to develop their careers  - they are the future of our business, our industry and our country.

Notes to Editors

On Waitrose
Waitrose currently has 271 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands.

The Partner Volunteering scheme will launch in February, giving 1,000s of Waitrose Partners (employees) donating time to local charities and good causes over the course of the year, with every Waitrose branch volunteering for an average of 250 hours.  A total of 75,000 hours will be spent in local communities in 2012.

Through The Prince’s Trust ‘Get into’ programme a series of two-week work placements will be offered to youngsters who are not in education or employment.  The supermarket will offer nearly 100 placements across its distribution centres, head office and shops this year.  Each placement will carry independent accreditation from the ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) - adding tangible value to the candidates’ experience, with the aim of helping them secure future employment.

The work based training programmes will give apprentices many of the skills they need for their chosen career, with each receiving a Level 2 Retail Apprenticeship qualification from City and Guilds at the end of the 12 months. Waitrose is currently trialing 41 of these placements and plans to offer a further 200 in the autumn.

Waitrose contact details: website:

Contact: Suzanne Cronin in the Waitrose Press Office on 01344 824006 or

On the Big Society Awards:
The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.

The award focuses upon three specific areas:

  • promoting social action - people being, and being encouraged to be, be more involved in their communities through giving time, money and other resources
  • empowering communities - local people taking control of how things are done in their area and being helped to do this by local government and others
  • opening up public services - public sector organisations and individuals demonstrating innovative ways of delivering public services and charities, social enterprises and private companies showing new ways of delivering public services
Published 5 January 2012