Warrington shop worker named a COVID hero for offering essential support during the pandemic

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A 20-year-old store supervisor who eased pressure on his colleagues and supported the needs of his local community during the pandemic has been named a Retail Hero.

Will Graham from Sankey Bridges near Warrington has worked at the Old Hall Spar mini market for the past 17 months. Thanks to his selflessness, positive nature, and can-do attitude, he has been awarded an accolade in the inaugural Quinyx Workforce Heroes Awards.

Despite challenging circumstances including more workload pressures from increased cleaning protocols, policing of customers wearing face masks as well as re-routing and limiting numbers of shoppers in the store, Will’s colleagues described him as “a great support”, “very positive”, “always there to help” and someone who “genuinely cares.”

Celebrated for going over and above for his colleagues by covering shifts and supporting those facing hard times, Will has become very popular with customers, especially elderly shoppers.

Will, a self-proclaimed people-person, explains: “Because of COVID we saw a pattern of customers visiting us more regularly, as they couldn’t get to the larger supermarkets or they were worried to visit them for fear of contracting the virus.

“The mini market has become a real community hub. For a lot of people during lockdown, it has been their only chance of interaction and so it’s nice to see regular faces and build relationships. Many of the elderly shoppers walk through the door and ask for me. As well as chatting about their day, I help reach higher products off the shelves or carry their bags – taking the time to get to know them has been nice and I’m happy I can make their days a bit brighter.”

Store manager Victoria Telfer nominated Will for the role, adding: “Will always has a smile on his face. He is so conscious of those around him – be that his colleagues or customers and he is genuinely interested in making sure they’re ok. It’s really refreshing.

“The Spar has been a real lifeline for the local community during the pandemic and by getting to know our customers and making special efforts for them – like setting aside their favourite newspaper or always ensuring there’s a pint of milk for our regulars, he’s made a lot of our more vulnerable customers feel very safe.”

Daniel Holmberg, country manager for workforce management solution Quinyx UK, was one of the judges for the Workforce Heroes Awards. He adds: “What really struck us about Will is his positive mental attitude and the fact that, despite everything that’s been happening in the world, he continued to put the needs of others before his own.

“His entry completely encapsulates a Workforce Hero – an everyday frontline worker who naturally goes over and above for the benefit of his peers and customers. Well done, Will.”

Celebrating the hard work and dedication of frontline workers who excelled in 2020, Quinyx launched the Workforce Heroes UK search in early 2021 to find superstars across retail, healthcare and logistics.