In response to Covid-19, Unilever employees across the UK & Ireland have stepped up to have a positive impact and make a difference to their colleagues, communities and the wider world.
We are incredibly proud of them and the commitment and community spirit they have shown in the fight against coronavirus.
We wanted to share their stories and a little insight into what makes them #UniquelyUnilever.
Meet Our Heroes
I’m a Digital & Data Integration Manager at Unilever UK & Ireland, which means I lead data-driven marketing campaigns for our brands.
I’m passionate about supporting young people with cancer. Coronavirus has hit the whole world hard, but for young people with cancer the impact has been unimaginable. I had chemotherapy for two and a half years when I was a teenager so I know how isolating cancer can be, let alone in these times. As visitors aren’t allowed in hospitals, the days can feel longer and lonelier.
I’m a true believer in the power of crafts when it comes to boosting mental wellbeing. It’s a great way to keep your mind entertained and focused on something fun so I wanted to use this and find a way to do something to support young cancer patients as best I could.
So, I decided to start making and delivering creative packs for young cancer patients. Each pack is slightly unique. They include sewing kits, brain puzzles, crochet kits, beautiful colouring books and more! Everything included in the packs is brand new and unused and I individually wrap them all.
Initially, I just made creative packs for 10 patients. They loved them so much that the hospital contacted me to ask for more help with other patients, so then I started crowdfunding and set out a mission - to provide as many creative packs as possible to young cancer patients.
So far, I’ve raised over £1,000 through crowdfunding and have delivered packs to over 150 young cancer patients across three different hospitals: The Royal Marsden, St George’s and UCLH. Some packs are sent directly to patients’ homes, to ensure they reach those who are shielding at home too.
The hospitals have told me that the packs are invaluable for young people, as they help them to relax whilst receiving treatment, and that they have really helped to improve emotional well-being. The NHS, Cancer Research UK, Teenage Cancer Trust and The Royal Marsden have all sent a special thank you to me which really meant so much.
Throughout this experience, the amount of support I have received from friends, colleagues and total strangers has been overwhelming. It shows the kindness and drive we all have in us to help others and our communities through these times.
“My usual day job is as a Production Technology Leader at the Unilever ice cream factory in Gloucester, but at the moment I am running my charity Gloucester Feed The Hungry (GFTH) full time.
Four years ago my vision was to set up a one-stop shop for the homeless and most vulnerable in our community. That’s how Gloucester Feed the Hungry (GFTH) started. The team and I set up shop in Gloucester city centre once a month – and every week during Ramadan – we provide a hot meal, hot and cold drinks, treats and fresh fruit. Free haircuts, clothing and toiletries are also available. I have also set up a food bank from my home, supplying food parcels to vulnerable people in our city.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, GFTH was asked to take on the role of providing freshly cooked meals to homeless shelters, and Unilever granted me full paid leave to run it full-time until the crisis is over. I have arranged for 20 families to cook for us on a rota and we supply on average 50 meals daily. I also do a drive through the city every night ensuring all homeless individuals have a hot Pot Noodle and every Wednesday I collect ice cream from our Gloucester site and deliver to 4 hospitals in Gloucestershire as well as all three blue light services. I also collect medicine and deliver to individuals who cannot leave their homes due to covid19.
My wife and children also support Gloucester Feed the Hungry and we try to live by our motto of putting smiles on the faces of the people who need it most. As a Muslim, I was brought up to be kind and humble. If I am able to make a difference to a few people, I will have fulfilled my purpose in life.”
“I’m the Operator Marketing Manager looking after the Elderly Care Sector in our Unilever Away From Home team.
The elderly care sector is one of our biggest priorities and wellbeing is at the centre of what we do, for both residents and chefs in the care sector, acknowledging the power of food on mental and physical health.
Given the current situation and the strain care homes have been under, I wanted us to find a way to directly support the new challenges and increased pressure they faced and re-assure our customers that we will be right by their side to support them through this uncertain period.
Based on our insight and discussions with our partners, we knew the biggest area of concern when it comes to the residents (outside catching the virus) is loneliness, isolation and generally feeling down and in unease.
Knowing this, we created a number of free resources and activity kits to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their residents during Covid-19. These include ‘Hydration Kits’ with posters and activity sheets to encourage residents to stay better hydrated, a guide to video calling so residents stay digitally connected, as well as recipe books for the care home kitchens to provide nutritional and uplifting meals. We sent these resources directly to nearly 2,000 care homes and have made them free to download on our website too. So far, our kits have been downloaded over 400 times and are now being used by Unilever to support care homes in other countries too.
My grandmother died in a care home back in Hungary, so I take this job very much to heart. It’s an amazing feeling to have when you realize that you have the power to touch thousands of lives especially when you see the impact on an individual level. Supporting care homes as we all battle coronavirus has made me realise, now more than ever, how important it is to value the small things in life which we take for granted.”
With these donations we’ve been able to support Fareshare, Community Shop, and In Kind Direct through these uncharted waters, with the latter utilising our stock donations to service 1,425 charities since the start of March. We have also thrown our support behind smaller charities, and hospital trusts, within the communities in which we work.
Never would I have thought that as a first-year degree apprentice, I would be charged with this level of responsibility, and be able to contribute to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at this scale.
A picture tells a thousand words and seeing pictures which show the smiles on people’s faces when they receive the products is the best feeling. You never know when you are going to need the help of our medical services or charities, and I know that our support means a lot to our teams of key workers keeping our factories and warehouses running to keep the shelves full and allow the UK and Ireland to stay fed, clean and healthy.
In Supply Chain we talk in stock quantities of cases and pallets, but speaking to charities and hospitals of all sizes, I’ve learnt that the impact of a single gift to someone who’s world has been turned upside down, is immense. Throughout the charity sector, everyone is devoted to active collaboration, to ensure donations get directly to those most in need.”