A new Workplace Critical Incident Support service has been set up by the grocery charity GroceryAid.

On Wednesday 12 June more than a hundred MPs and industry leaders gathered at the Houses of Parliament for the launch of the service.

It will be funded by the Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust, and aims to provide professional counselling support to grocery colleagues in the aftermath of an accident, robbery or assault in the workplace.

GroceryAid is partnering with CiC, specialists in workplace counselling, to provide professional counsellors who visit site to run either group or 1-2-1 sessions which provide practical advice and tools to help individuals manage their feelings and emotions.

GroceryAid chief executive Steve Barnes commented: “Sadly there are incidents and accidents in grocery workplaces and we are delighted to introduce a service that can be there to support colleagues affected by them.

“Right now in particular, we are acutely aware of rising numbers of attacks on independent retail colleagues. These attacks can have lasting effects. As the charity for the entire grocery sector, we are pleased to expand our support offering to be there for colleagues and companies dealing with the aftermath of trauma.”

Steve Williams, from the Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust, said “We are delighted to fund the introduction of GroceryAid’s Workplace Critical Incident Support. The charity plays a crucial role within the grocery industry, supporting colleagues when they need it most. This new service will help individuals deal with the emotional aftermath of traumatic events.”

Lord Price, life patron of GroceryAid, sponsored the event which was also supported by the Association of Convenience Stores and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are proud to have been a part of the Parliamentary launch of this fantastic and valuable service which will provide support to colleagues in our sector.

“The new Workplace Critical Incident Support service further strengthens the already comprehensive help that GroceryAid provides for people that are part of the grocery sector. This new service is especially helpful for people that have suffered trauma like violence and abuse while working in stores, which is unfortunately all too common in our sector.”

The service is activated when an accident, robbery or assault has occurred in the workplace resulting in a critical incident.

• An employer, witness or victim can contact GroceryAid via their 24/7 confidential Helpline.

• An initial assessment is made and if a site visit is required, the case is handed directly to CiC.

• CiC carry out a full assessment of the situation and if onsite support is the best solution, timings are agreed.

• CiC professionals will attend site for half- or a full-day depending on the numbers of staff involved. They may run group or 1-2-1 sessions on coping with trauma depending on the situation, providing practical advice and tools to help individuals manage their feelings and emotions.