Tesco’s corporate slogan provides immediate identification and yesterday, I discovered staff at my local store were supporting a charitable cause – by dressing up as superheroes in support of Cancer Research UK.
There is without doubt, a shift in business attitude toward support of the community. In the past such a campaign might have been permitted to collect outside the door. Now it’s a dimension of doing business.
Because of my own involvement, I know also that Tesco has formed a partnership with Grameen Bank to create a social business. It will provide microfinance lending to some of the most impoverished regions of Scotland.
I run a social business which began with a microfinance initiative for impoverished people overseas. I also have cancer, leukaemia to be specific.
Thinking further about Tesco, I was reminded that a few months ago I’d been without transport and taken a bus to the local town for a dental appointment. When it came to returning however, there was the prospect of more than two hours wait. I though – I’ll walk up to Tesco, there’s bound to be someone from the village I can hitch a left from. There was.
I began to ask – Is Tesco really helping ?
The primary focus of my own social business are children institutionalised because they’re considered imperfect and I was reminded recenty of an interview my colleague gave to a Canadian magazine before he died. He spoke of social business partnership saying:
“The funds will be directed to concluding a project in the Ukraine which involves funding the training of residents to develop social businesses. Included in this work is supporting children who have disabilities, many of whom have been left to die in secretive locations. P-CED is helping to move these children to safety and give them access to modern healthcare.”
Ironically as an American without health insurance, he died as a consequence of poverty.while I faced my own challenge and the despair of not being able to help him or the children he spoke of.
It isn’t easy to talk about cancer. Wanting on one hand not to reveal one’s vulnerability, while at the same time being in great need of social engagement – someone to talk to.
If I want to speak to someone in my village, I can go into town and find them in Tesco.
The greatest fear becomes exposing oneself and seeing the trapped look of someone saying that they ‘don’t have time’.
I did get to speak to Wonder Woman yesterday, advising her on the spinning technique (on TV we never saw how she spun back to being normal) and then the part-time checkout girl. I asked why she and others weren’t in costume and learned that the staff had to buy their own. She couldn’t afford it from what she earned.
In spite of all this ‘social’ activity it seems, we are so many at a distance from each other.