In 2020, PAPA introduced a Community Award, looking to shine a spotlight on those companies giving something back. In the heart of a pandemic, it was a hugely challenging time – and we wanted to recognise businesses going the extra mile to help others. From local efforts to national schemes, there have been many inspirational submissions over the years. And we’re seeking more for 2023…
Now called the Community & Social Responsibility Award, it rewards those putting social responsibility at the heart of their operations or improving the environment around them.
The driving force is its sponsor, specialist meat products and toppings supplier, Qualitops. They’ve been behind the award from the beginning – and it’s a particular passion project for managing director, Claus Nielsen.
“We started sponsoring when Covid-19 started,” said Nielsen. “Obviously, everyone had to help each other and nobody knew what was around the corner. But we saw incredible creativity in how people went about their business – helping in the community. And while we’ve transitioned into some sort of normality again, it’s still more important than ever. Everybody is being squeezed in terms of costs, especially the smaller independents. So, we have to keep looking at how we can help each other. We have many smaller customers and have built these up over two decades of business.”
"It is important for us as a brand to realise that everything we do starts at a local level with those that we can see around us. It is by building the links with those on the front line in all activities that we are able to continue and build upon what we have achieved.
Three years ago, PAPA received entries from businesses sending thousands of pizzas to NHS hospitals and care agencies, while offering them staff discounts, alongside food hubs being created for front-line workers. In 2021, we heard from pizzerias sponsoring youth sports teams, with pizza and pasta donated to various food banks and charities. From support for Air Ambulance services to local theatre initiatives, the impact of the pizza and pasta industry on local communities is astounding. The stories have been truly wonderful.
Our sponsorship of other events [community music festivals, local sportspeople] shows our direction – and why we think this award is so important.”
And that’s where you come in. Whether big or small, local or national, we want to hear from businesses doing great things in the community – or for their staff. Perhaps management is brilliant at sponsoring charity work, fun runs or cycle rides; or there is exceptional support around mental health. Whatever the initiative or ambitions, we want you to get in touch and tell us all about it.
At the end of it all, there’s the glitter and glamour of the PAPA Awards ceremony in London on 9 November.
“The dinner itself is a great social event,” said Nielsen. “We bring our customers along, but also catch up with our competitors, who we know very well. It’s an excellent opportunity to network and engage with those you haven’t seen for a little while.”