The co-owner of a Budgens in London’s Islington has won an award after recruiting 13 people facing obstacles to employment such as disabilities and criminal records.

Paul Gardner, of Budgens of Islington in Highbury Corner, London, was awarded the ‘small & medium enterprise employer’ prize by the Employment Related Services Association. He told Retail Express that being a part of the community was highly important for the store.

“We worked closely with Islington Council on the scheme,” he said. “When I arrived, employees were mostly students and had little ownership over what they were doing.

“Our new hires are local, work full-time and are grateful to be given a chance. They take pride and ownership in their roles, which has had a great effect on morale and created a real community in-store.”

Click here to see our profile of Gardner’s store.