Greggs has continued to support UK charities and communities during 2011 by raising record amounts of money.

Following the announcement of its preliminary results this morning (14 March), the high street retail bakery chain revealed that it had raised £1m for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal last year.

The company’s own registered charity, the Greggs Foundation, was established in 1987 and has since raised more than £10m for people living in disadvantaged areas. It receives donations from the Greggs business, its employees through its ‘Give As You Earn’ initiative, as well as donations from major shareholders, investment income and through staff fundraising activities.

As part of the Foundation, the business started its own Greggs Breakfast Clubs programme – a means of providing a free breakfast for primary schoolchildren in areas of particular social disadvantage. The company funds £225,000 into the scheme every year and now operates in 180 UK schools, reaching around 8,000 children.

Greggs opened up five new Breakfast Clubs during the second half of 2011 in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in response to the summer riots.

Ken McMeikan, chief executive at Greggs, said: “At Greggs we have always prided ourselves on doing the right thing – whether for our people, our customers, local communities or the environment. One great example of this has been the fantastic work done by so many to support children in some of the most disadvantaged communities. 

“Fourteen Greggs Breakfast Clubs are now operating through partner organisations and I am delighted that more companies are becoming involved in supporting them. We are enormously grateful to these organisations for having the vision and compassion to tackle child poverty right here in the UK. I would also like to pay tribute to the head teachers, their staff and the volunteers who make these clubs work so brilliantly.”

The Greggs Foundation also operates a grant programme, in which it offers major grants to charitable organisations supporting disadvantaged people in the north east of England. In addition, the Foundation gives regional grants of up to £2,000 for similar charities across the UK, as well as its Hardship Fund, which offers ‘emergency’ funding to north east of England families who need essentials such as clothing, beds and ovens.

Derek Netherton, chairman for Greggs, said: “Our values lie at the very heart of what we do and in our relationships with our staff, customers and shareholders. In such difficult economic times, customers expect us to continue providing great-tasting products at great value prices; but they also expect us to do even more to help those who are most disadvantaged within the community.

“I would like to pay tribute to the tremendous efforts of our 20,000 people over the past year. Their continued passion and dedication have been rewarded through our profit-sharing scheme, in which 10% of profits are shared among our staff.”

Speaking of the company’s commitment to its staff, McMeikan added: “We remain indebted to our people for their incredible energy, enthusiasm and commitment to delivering products and service that will delight our customers. I am particularly pleased that we were able to create more than 800 new retail jobs through our shop opening programme during the year, lifting the total number of Greggs employees above 20,000 for the first time.

“We continue to share 10% of our profits with our people and I am delighted that a record £5.9m will be shared among our staff in respect of our performance in 2011.”

Throughout the past 12 months, Greggs received the Sandwich Industry Awards’ lifetime achievement award, as well as being named Corporate Foundation of the Year at the Business Charity Awards.