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Islington business wins employer of the year award

Paul Gardner

Paul Gardner

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An Islington business has won a coveted award in recognition of its “exceptional commitment” to creating employment opportunities for local people who are out of work.
Budgens, based on Upper Street, N1, received the Employment Related Services Association’s (ERSA) award for ‘Small and Medium Enterprise Employer of the Year’ after it was nominated by Islington Council. 
The independent supermarket has worked closely with the council’s iWork for Business team to offer a range of job opportunities for residents, who have been without work for some time, in a shared effort to tackle the borough’s unemployment problems.
The Upper Street store has employed 13 local people and helped to place eight more into work in other branches across Islington.   
The store’s manager, Paul Gardner, has consistently recruited local residents who face additional barriers to securing employment – including young people, lone parents, residents older than fifty, former offenders, and disabled people. 
Recently, Mr Gardner and his team created a position specifically designed for an employee with learning disabilities who is now working in the Islington store.
Budgens has been an active particpant in the council's 'Saturday jobs scheme', offering young people part-time work outside of school hours so as to help them acquire valuable work experience. Five young people have been employed on Saturdays as a result. 
Upon receiving the ERSA award, Mr Gardner said: "I am really excited to have been recognised with this award. I truly believe in that this is very much a joint achievement with local employment support providers especially Islington Council."
Islington Council’s executive member for economic development, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a glowing testament to Paul’s dedication to helping residents who are out of work find the right job. 
“Rates of unemployment in Islington remain too high and too many residents do not get the support they deserve.
“Paul and his team are the perfect example of a dynamic business that gets involved and makes real change happen for the local community.”
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For more information contact:

Eugene Grant
Senior Media Officer
0207 527 2530