Our community programme supports four key strategic aims; looking after the countryside, promoting healthy living and wellbeing, supporting education and employability and engaging with our local communities.

Looking after the countryside

At Dairy Crest, we know that a healthy, vibrant countryside is as vital to rural communities and dairy farmers as it is to our future success.

Dairy Crest has a long-term relationship with The Prince’s Countryside Fund. The charity, set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, aims to protect, improve and promote the British countryside and the businesses which work within it.

Dairy Crest donated £100,000 to the Fund in 2015/16 through brand partnerships with Davidstow cheddar and Country Life butter. In the summer of 2015, before the Dairies business was sold, the milk&more milkmen and customers helped raise a further £60,000 for the Fund through an envelope drop. In April 2016, for the second year, we also co-sponsored a racing day to raise money for the Fund at Ascot. This year, the Fund has awarded more than £1.5 million in grants, in addition to £56,400 in Emergency Funding to support victims of this winter’s flooding across the North of England and Scotland.

In 2011 Dairy Crest, alongside other British dairy processors and through The Prince’s Countryside Fund, set up The Prince’s Dairy Initiative. Through a package of business advice and support it aims to improve confidence and increase efficiencies within a group of farmers identified as vulnerable and likely to cease being a dairy farmer. The Initiative has helped 291 farmers since 2012.

Dairy Crest is also a long-term supporter of ‘Open Farm Sunday’. In June 2015, 389 farms opened their gates to the public to demonstrate food production methods.

We were delighted to be Highly Commended in the Waitrose Way Awards Championing British category. This was in recognition of the development our world-leading farm standards and the work we are doing in partnership with our own nearly 400 farmers in the South West.

Promoting healthy living and wellbeing

Dairy Crest is a long term supporter of GroceryAid, the food industry charity which was set up in 1857. In their last financial year, GroceryAid awarded £4 million in welfare assistance to people who are currently working or who have worked in the food industry.

In November 2015, Dairy Crest’s support was recognised with a Gold Award at the GroceryAid Achievement Awards. Dairy Crest staff voluntarily deliver healthy, fresh food to vulnerable people in our local communities through Meals On Wheels.

During winter 2015, we donated over 8,500 litres of milk to Crisis at Christmas. This enabled the homeless charity to help 4,600 people take the first steps out of homelessness.

Supporting education and employability

The agri-food industry is the fourth fastest growing sector in terms of businesses and third fastest growing sector in terms of jobs. However, the agricultural sector is struggling to attract enough applicants with the right skills.

Dairy Crest has set up a number of initiatives which actively encourage the next generation into the food and manufacturing sector. By working with the IGD and their Feeding Britain’s Future schools programme, we helped facilitate over 25 school careers sessions this year.

In 2016 we worked with M&S to deliver their youth unemployment programme, Movement to Work. Dairy Crest offered 45 placements in the financial year throughout the business, including in manufacturing roles.

Dairy Crest helps fund community educational programmes, including food science placements at Reading and Nottingham Universities.

Local community programme

We operate a staff lottery, open to all Dairy Crest employees.

Each site also has a community budget to distribute to local charities and good causes nominated by members of staff.

This year staff have supported over 60 local causes through financial donations.