Halfords is proud to support charities and communities across the UK. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that much of our focus was centred on supporting the UK's key front-line workers, to help keep them moving so they can focus on keeping the country safe in a national emergency.
Supporting our key workers
Throughout the pandemic, we carried out over half a million services and repair jobs on cars and bikes each month, playing an essential role in keeping the UK moving. We were privileged to offer free checks and discounts to 480,000 key workers, including NHS staff, teachers and Armed Forces, to keep their vehicles safe and roadworthy. Halfords Autocentres and McConechy's garages provided servicing, repair and tyre services for ambulances, police cars and border control vehicles, contracting with 49 emergency service agencies across the UK.
We were particularly proud to donate E-scooters to the NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham to help construction workers complete the fit-out, and we donated numerous bikes to individual doctors and nurses whose bicycles had been stolen or vandalised.
We are active within many communities across the UK and actively help and support local communities in which we operate. One great example of this during FY21 was supporting our local foodbank via the Trussell Trust. Despite the pandemic making fundraising more challenging, we ran a variety of events to raise money for the Redditch foodbank and were delighted to donate this money in the period leading up to Christmas.
Halfords has worked with the Re-Cycle charity since 2013 – an amazing charity which repurposes bikes by sending them to those in desperate need of basic transport in African countries, training mechanics in-country to recondition the bikes and ultimately giving the bike a second life. For the people in these communities, a reliable bike is essential for their livelihoods and it is extremely important to us that we can support them as much as we can.
We encourage our customers to donate their old bikes at our stores, which are then transported to our central distribution centre before being shipped to the main Re-Cycle hub. When the bikes are received at Re-Cycle, they are assessed for quality and suitability to send to Africa. They are then sent to Re-Cycle's Africa Partners and 'prepped' by an amazing team of volunteers, before being taken to communities in desperate need. Re-Cycle has a zero-waste policy and any parts or components that cannot be repurposed or reused are recycled. This is very much aligned with our own ambitions to reduce products and packaging ending up in landfill and is a great example of how a circular economy can help benefit the planet in various ways.
Since we began our partnership, we have donated more than 60,000 bikes, and despite COVID-19 meaning the partnership had to be put on hold until the start of 2021, we still managed to send 1,780 bikes to Re-Cycle between April 2020 and April 2021.
As part of our pledge to support both our colleagues and charities, we embarked on a Group-wide initiative to walk, run, swim and cycle the distance around the globe – an incredible 33,327 mile journey matching the route you would most likely take if you cycled around the world. Many colleagues were feeling the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and the dark evenings of winter, and this challenge provided a great opportunity to use exercising as a means to improve health and wellbeing. We were delighted with a total mileage of 141,733 miles and in doing so we donated £33,327 to the Mind charity. An incredible amount of money raised for Mind and great for colleague engagement – a great example of the Halfords 'One Team' value.
The Halfords Academy at HMP Drake Hall was launched a number of years ago and it is a scheme which we remain firmly committed to. It offers participants the opportunity to train as cycle mechanics and create the prospect of steady employment upon release. The programme is tailored for each participant with an added focus on mechanics, customer services or retail.
Since launch, the Halfords Academy has been a great success and although COVID-19 meant the programme had to pause, we have resumed training, and are currently training twelve female offenders. Twenty graduates have joined the business in a variety of roles following their release. Fully supported by Halfords colleagues, participants are subject to the same high standards of training as other colleagues within the Group – the training programme is thorough, designed to challenge participants and raise aspirations. The programme provides offenders with the opportunity to be trained and work on bikes that require reconditioning.
The majority of the bikes are then donated to primary schools in disadvantaged areas to help children access cycling through the Halfords school bike donation scheme.
We continue to offer guaranteed interviews to service leavers and reservists for all roles where candidates meet the minimum requirements. We also support service leavers and reservists by recruiting through the Career Transition Partnership, offering ten days additional unpaid leave for reservists and a range of discounts for those serving in the Armed Forces. As a result, we are now a Silver Level employer in the MOD's Employer Recognition Scheme, and were also nominated for The Sun's Military Awards, which are known as the 'Millies'.
Since signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant, Halfords is proud to have recruited 78 ex-services personnel into a variety of stores and garages roles.