Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen PayPoint retailers across the country demonstrating their place at the heart of communities and going the extra mile to support those in need at what is a difficult time. It’s been amazing so far to see some of the initiatives and acts of true kindness being carried out.
About the award
We’d like to thank you for your heroic efforts, and as such, have launched PayPoint Retail Heroes Awards, with the aim of recognising retailers who are acting as a pillar of their local community.
Every week during May, we will be selecting one retailer from the PayPoint network who has gone above and beyond to serve their local communities during the COVID-19 lockdown. This could be anything from offering a local delivery service, to creating a website so that customers can order online.
Each retailer selected will receive a certificate and £500 to donate to a charity of their choice.
Retail Heroes of the week
Week commencing 1 June
Mr Rekz Afzal, RSA Your Local Shop, Paisley.
This week’s winner, Rekz, runs a stigma-free food bank for the local community from his store in Paisley, Refrewshire. The food bank, which he donates to personally, helps those who are unable to get out, the elderly and people facing financial difficulty. In a typical week, 120 people will use the food bank.
Not content there, Rekz has set up a care convey to transport food packages to the those who can’t physically get to the food bank. He has called upon all locals within his community who have their own transport to help make deliveries (which are free of charge) to those stranded.
Rekz has been encouraging other shops and business to get involved and pull together during the health crisis. The reaction to Rekz’s free food bank has been incredible and businesses and locals alike have all got involved by making donations and helping to volunteer. A local member of the community has donated £500 to the shop for the food bank so that Rekz can buy more fruit/veg and fresh products.
The welfare service which Rekz runs for those in hardship has previously been recognised by The Provost of Renfrewshire and by MPs and MSPs.
Those wanting to volunteer are urged to get in touch with Rekz at his store, where all donations are welcomed.
Rekz has decided to make his £500 donation to Eat Up Charity in Glasgow.
Mr Nallanthamby Suthkaran
Mrs Dancy Stephen and Mr Nallanthamby Suthkaran, Midlands
This week’s Retail Heroes are Mrs Dancy Stephen and Mr Nallanthamby Suthkaran, who jointly run three sites in the Midlands and have been working hard to ensure the safety of their staff during these tough times to enable them to continue to give their community the support they need.
Across their stores they have installed safety screens to protect staff as well as fitting sinks near the till area to allow staff to wash their hands regularly. Alongside these safety measures they have made personal protective equipment readily available for staff to help that little bit more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have supported their community by donating food to families they know are vulnerable and delivered groceries to those unable to get to their store. They have also been sourcing additional essential items they would not normally stock to help their customers who would otherwise struggle to access these items.
Dancy and Nallanthamby have always been supportive of their community by regularly donating food and drink to local homeless charities, not just during the pandemic. For the past four years they have also been running a foundation that supports seven preschools in Sri Lanka.
Dancy and Nallanthamby have asked that their donation be made to The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham.
Mr Daljit Singh, Coolfoods in Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan
Our second Retail Hero is Daljit, who runs six sites in Wales and has been going above and beyond to support his community during these times.
Across his stores he employs over 30 members of staff who work tirelessly and Daljit would like them to know how grateful he is for their continued support. All six stores are operating normal opening hours to ensure his community can get what they need.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has gone the extra mile by making supply runs to local NHS hospitals with tea, coffee and soft drinks for the hard-working doctors and nurses as well as patients in their care.
Alongside this, Daljit has been making sure his more vulnerable customers are still able to get groceries by offering free deliveries to those unable to leave their homes due to isolation or disabilities.
And it’s not just during these tough times where Daljit supports his local community, during winter months Daljit provides coats, sleeping bags and blankets to the homeless and helps poorer members of his community all year round.
Dajit's has asked that his donation be made to the Prince Charles Hospital, Children's Ward and he has decided to match this donation. The actions of a true 'hero'.
Mr Amothen Kandasamy, Premier Dyce, Aberdeen.
Our first hero is Amothen, who runs five convenience stores in Aberdeenshire and is very busy serving and supporting his local communities at this time.
Across his five stores he employs 23 staff, five full time, and works longs days balancing trips to the cash and carry and shifts at every store. All his stores are trading normal opening hours and he says that business is doing well and that his customers have remained loyal and appreciative of his efforts to keep and supply them with what they need.
Amothen has recently started Amazon parcel collection at his Bucksburn store and is also looking forward to launching the Deliveroo food delivery service to further support his customers in the community.
During this crisis, Amothen has sourced and supplied toilet roll at affordable prices, and is happy to help his regular customers with free items such hand sanitiser, bread and milk if they are struggling or are in desperate need. He also supported welfare payments from Aberdeen City Council in the form of CashOut vouchers.
Right now, a typical day sees Amothen closing his stores at 11:00pm before doing 40-50 free-of-charge deliveries of essential items to the elderly and finishing between 3:00 – 4:00am. That makes Amothen a true ‘hero’ in our eyes.
Amothen has decided to make his £500 donation to Bucksburn Academy Friends of ASN Wing.