Marsh Commercial and Dudmans of Berkshire feed the NHS

Opportunity from adversity

Dudmans of Berkshire was one of many businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. They are a local wholesale greengrocers, whose regular customers, schools, restaurants and businesses, were not in a position to place any orders. As a consequence of this, on 18th March, Garry Dudman called Allan Pickett at our Reading branch to talk about taking a number of vehicles off the road. However, Garry was determined to respond to the pandemic challenge and support his community. The following day he contacted Allan again, this time to advise him that they were going to start delivering fruit and vegetables to people in the local area.

That evening, Allan watched a news story about a critical care nurse who, exhausted from a long shift on the front line of the pandemic, went to buy fruit and vegetables, to find that the shop shelves had been stripped bare. This story made Allan want to help in any way that he could, and he began to form a plan.

Community spirit

The next morning, Allan called Dudmans of Berkshire and spoke to Garry and his wife Melanie, and asked if they would be interested in delivering boxes to the NHS workers at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Garry and Melanie immediately supported the idea. Allan reached out to Jo Warrior, Charity Director at the Royal Berks Charity, who supports the work of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, and pitched the idea. This was still during the very early stages of the pandemic in the UK and full lockdown was not yet in place, so while the Trust was in the process of setting up a welfare service for their staff, it was by no means complete, and they welcomed this addition.

Allan set up and launched a JustGiving page just as the UK went into lockdown. Marsh Commercial and Dudmans of Berkshire published the fundraising page to customers, friends and colleagues, and Allan called a number of local businesses, insurers and clients. The fundraising efforts were supported by generous donations from Marsh Commercial, AXA Insurance, and a personal contribution from Marsh Commercial’s CEO, Anthony Gruppo. The £10,000 target was met and surpassed in just under 3 days.

Making a difference

One week after Allan first came up with the idea on the 26th March, Dudmans of Berkshire delivered the first 25 boxes to the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Some were large boxes for families, and other were smaller boxes designed for individuals. Over the next six weeks a further 850 boxes were delivered to the hospital and the local Ambulance Service.

While part of a world-leading insurance group, we’re proud to be a UK community broker. We are therefore very pleased that together Allan and our client, Dudmans of Berkshire, were able to work together to provide such an essential service at this time of national crisis.

Some takeaways

Marsh Commercial and Dudmans raise £10,000 in three days to feed the NHS