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Sweet Charity affirms help for confectionery employees

By Lindsey Partos , 24-Mar-2009

With current tougher times in the economy impacting disposable income, a charity for past and present confectionery employees, Sweet Charity, affirms its key aim in 2009 is to raise awareness and reach out to more people in need in the industry.

Over half a million people in the UK are currently employed in the confectionery industry, a figure that blossoms into millions when retired employees are included.

Sweet Charity, that began life in 1918, looks to support workers in the confectionery sector who experience difficult circumstances offering “financial, practical or emotional” help.

"We want to communicate and raise awareness to all these people that the Sweet Charity is their charity. We are delighted with our new brand identity [launched at the end of 2008] as it represents our focus and intent to be at ‘the heart of the confectionery industry’," said Patrick Davis, Sweet Charity’s director general, who spent 20 years with Cadbury, followed by a period at Premier Foods, and latterly CEO of Food from Britain.

While the charity, formerly known as the Confectioners Benevolent Fund or CBF, offers support to all participants in the industry, in reality "the majority of the help has gone to those that have retired".

Today, through a new red heart shaped sweet logo and a refreshed marketing strategy, the charity is looking to boost its profile in the industry, encouraging employees involved in all aspects of the confectionery sector, from manufacturers to wholesalers, and from the factory floor to head office, to become more involved in the UK-based charity.

Specifically, the charity, that had 1555 beneficiaries in 2007, can offer financial assistance for people who have worked in the confectionery industry for five years or more and have low savings and incomes.

"In 2007/2008 our beneficiaries were better off by over £500m (€541m) as a direct result of our welfare service," writes the charity in information sent to ConfectioneryNews.com.

Cumulatively, over a five-year period, the charity has "helped our beneficiaries to be over £2m (€2.26m) better off".

"Where we identify that a couple are both entitled to disability benefits we can increase their income by up to 153 per cent," adds the charity.

In 2007 to 2008 over 500 beneficiaries received quarterly grants from the charity of up to £260 (€281) per quarter, with the charity providing "tailored financial support" to over 400 people in specific areas such as household adaptations and essential items.

Non-financial support varies, with the charity organising events from Christmas dinners to museum visits.

Patrick Davis will speaking at this week's Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery conference, organised by the UK Food and Drink Federation.

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