How Cocoa Factory Uses Its Bean to Help Others; Business PROFILE David Jones Finds How One of Cadbury's Smallest Sites Has Earned One of the Biggest Reputations

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), January 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

How Cocoa Factory Uses Its Bean to Help Others; Business PROFILE David Jones Finds How One of Cadbury's Smallest Sites Has Earned One of the Biggest Reputations


Byline: David Jones

IT'S the sweet taste of success - from both a business perspective and a community aspect - for workers at a top confectioner's site on the Welsh border.

The Cadbury Trebor Bassett cocoa bean processing factory at Chirk, Wrexham, is a key location in the group's UK portfolio of sites, supplying both finished products and ingredients for chocolate manufacture elsewhere in the country.

The factory, with 186 employees, has just a few per cent of CTB's total workforce. In the greater scheme of things, it's a smallish site, but that hasn't stopped it earning a giant reputation within the group for its community programme.

Site community champion Jim Davies, who has overseen the recent development of that programme, says employee volunteering and community commitment are one of the pillars of the group's CSR agenda.

"The community programme on the site has evolved over a number of years because the business has always supported people doing things to help the community," says Davies.

"Through CSR we encourage employees to go out into their local community to do whatever they feel passionate about.

"The Chirk agenda has grown and grown but we have had to put in place criteria to ensure that each project will have a sustainable impact and be concerned with either youth provision, communal recreation areas, support carer groups, schooling or the creation a safer community.

"We have never actually turned down anyone who has approached us for help, but we do not give money. What we do provide is the labour to be able to work wherever possible on projects that have often been in abeyance for a number of years."

The first project the company took up locally was the building of a communal area at a community centre in Caia Park, Wrexham. As company employees worked on that project they were approached by a nearby primary school who asked if they would also help finish a millennium garden.

Since then the Cadbury Trebor Bassett teams have carried out projects in the communities in which they live or where their children go to school - Llangollen, St Martin's, Oswestry as well as Chirk and Wrexham - creating sensory gardens and other enhancements.

With other businesses, including neighbouring wood products manufacturer Kronospan, CTB completed environmental improvements at Chirk railway station, resulting in a huge jump in usage of the line.

Davies has no doubts about the value of the work, not just to the local towns and villages, but to the site and its employees.

"We believe it builds an opportunity for the guys who work here to be able to give something back to their local communities.

"It builds a pride in work and it creates kinship. Although it is a small site there are people in areas of the factory who do not get to see one another very much so this is another way in which we can bring those team together.

"Last year, 70% of the workforce took part in the programme - they get paid leave to do so - but it has been as high as 80%."

Davies manages the community programme, but his main job is as manufacturing development manager at the cocoa bean processing factory.

Every year the factory receives more than 50,000 tonnes of cocoa beans shipped into the UK from Ghana through Liverpool docks and then taken by road to Chirk where they are roasted. …

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