Spar Scotland: there for you when you need us

Spar Scotland lorry

Spar Scotland wholesaler and retailer CJ Lang & Son has a long tradition of supporting the industry, as well as communities and charities across Scotland with the company’s efforts shifting into overdrive in the last few months.

by Paula Middleton, Marketing Manager, Spar Scotland


Spar Scotland has a long and proud history of supporting the local retailing industry in Scotland, as well as communities and charities across the country. Well before lockdown, we launched a £100,000 charity giveaway right across Scotland, receiving over 700 nominations from local charities. The result was that 100 of these charities were given £1,000 to support a huge amount of community initiatives. We also continue to support our national charity partner Marie Curie, with £40,000 being donated in the last 12 months.

Our work with our local communities continues and never more so than during lockdown. Since the end of March 2020, we have donated a further £10,000 to local charities, community groups and foodbanks. Donations have been a mixture between Spar vouchers, food and drink, and cash.

Additionally, we have supported and work with many local suppliers during Covid-19 and help them during these unprecedented times. Here are a few examples:

Supporting NHS Fife patients

Spar Scotland donated £200 to help patients at a hospital in Fife. When local resident Wendy Page got in touch looking for support, the leading convenience store group in Scotland had to help.

“We became aware that patients are often admitted to hospital urgently with no personal possessions and no one to assist in delivering these,” said Wendy. “With the hospital in lockdown, families were unable to take things to the hospital and we knew they would feel isolated. We would like to say a big thank you to Spar Scotland.”

Heroes for heroes

Spar Scotland donated 1,400 boxes of Cadbury Heroes to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee at a time when Scottish NHS frontline staff are working tirelessly to help the nation.

Colin McLean, CEO of Spar Scotland, said: “We really appreciate the amazing work all frontline NHS staff at Ninewells Hospital are doing. As they are our heroes, we thought it would be only fitting to treat them to boxes of Cadbury Heroes.”

NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald said: “I would like to thank everyone at Spar Scotland for thinking of our staff as we all respond to Covid-19.

Rural support

Lochcarron is a picturesque village of white-washed cottages on the shores of Loch Carron in the Wester Ross area of the Highlands with a population of nearly one thousand people. However, during the Covid-19 crisis, one family has been working tirelessly, night and day, to keep their local community going.

Emma and Hector Maclean, together with their daughter Kayleigh and a team of six employees at Spar Lochcarron have been delivering essential food and drink items from their Spar store to residents in the region.

“We have always provided a free home delivery service but we have really stepped up to the mark during the coronavirus lockdown and we are now delivering to a larger proportion of the community,” said Emma.

“Many of the community are elderly and we have been making deliveries from next door to up to 10 miles away. Deliveries are going out to young and old people to try and limit the amount of customers passing through the shop on a daily basis. We are trying to look out for our community but also our own family and all our staff. We want everyone to be as safe and healthy as possible.”

Local focus

Spar Scotland has donated 8,000 sandwiches to a number of great causes after hearing about the brilliant fundraising activities of local charity Dundee Bairns. Dundee Bairns is a charity working to support existing projects as well as schools in assisting with ‘holiday hunger’. They have provided over 180,000 meals to meet some of the greatest levels of need in some of the areas of highest deprivation in Scotland.

David Dorward from Dundee Bairns said: “We are immensely grateful to CJ Lang for the donation of sandwiches at this unprecedented time of worry and food insecurity for so many people across the city who already teeter on the edge of coping.”

Spar Scotland’s foodbank partner Gate Church has also taken some stock to help those in need around Dundee.

Foodbank help

Spar Scotland and Tarves Community Council have join forces and donated £1,000 to Tarves Community Foodbank. Organised by the local church, Tarves Community Council helps people in need within the Tarves community by donating funds to the local community foodbank. When Spar Scotland heard how in one week they had delivered a huge number food parcels, donated by customers in the Duthies of Tarves Spar store and Tarves Pharmacy, to the needy and elderly within the village and surrounding area, Spar decided to double their £500 donation to £1,000.

Supporting local suppliers

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way Spar Scotland works with local suppliers. As the pandemic hit, Spar Scotland spoke to its existing local supplier base to see what they could do to support them. As shoppers re-discovered the importance of shopping and supporting local, the knock-on effect of this in many cases was the adjustment of orders to local suppliers to help them maintain their volumes.

Spar Scotland works with over 150 local Scottish suppliers at any given time. “Such developments are not only assisting local businesses during this time of uncertainty but it has allowed us to maintain a regular flow of local products to our Spar stores right across Scotland,” said Colin McLean.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the opportunity of committing to local Scottish businesses. The quality and price of what we produce right here on our own doorstep is as good as what we may bring in from other parts of the UK and abroad.”

The company works with a number of local Scottish bakeries, fresh and chilled suppliers in order to keep the shelves of Spar stores stocked. Graham’s the Family Dairy, Farmlay Eggs, Brownings the Bakers, Ashers, McGhees, JG Ross, Malcolm Allan and Stuarts Bakers are a few who currently supply the wholesaler.