"Suddenly, we seem to have arrived at the end of the year all over again. How did that happen?
So, before we all take a much-needed break over Christmas I just wanted to thank all of you - our suppliers, our clients and our Hillfoot employees - for thinking outside the box and keeping us all moving forward. It’s something I think we’re all incredibly good at, and why we’re in such a strong position as we head towards our centenary in 2023.
Looking back on last year’s message I recall writing about us being in the midst of a third lockdown, and as I write we now have the latest news of the Omicron variant, and all the unknowns that it might bring. Clearly this is something that we will continue to have to live with for some time. But, it goes without saying that we remain indebted to the amazing NHS and the tireless professionals who’ve been on the frontline, both in hospitals and care homes, to ensure that we’re all protected from the ravages of this pandemic – and that we continue to lead lives as normal as possible.
The challenges of the pandemic coupled with tough trading conditions, have sent us more than our fair share of curve balls this year. But, in true Hillfoot style, everyone has more than raised the bar and worked both smarter and harder to deliver a seamless level of service to our customers. I do genuinely believe that our largest single asset is our amazing Hillfoot staff who, time and time again, work as a team to live up to our values as a company that thrives on collaboration and innovation.
Despite all these challenges, I do genuinely believe that 2021 has been a transformational year - one that has shown the resilience of our company. One of the many reasons why Hillfoot remains a dynamic business is that we never stand still. We’re constantly driving forward innovation across the business, and this year invested over £2m in cutting technologies, logistics and paperless systems to ensure that we remain at the top of our game. It really has been a year when we have certainly lived up to our ‘Raising The Bar’ strapline!
And as part of our investment in people it was great to take on a new generation of young talent through our graduate training programme, and to see those who have joined in previous years start to progress through the business. We’re all part of the Hillfoot family and as Managing Director it’s so encouraging to see people from all backgrounds and experience tread what I believe is a rewarding career path through our organisation.
2021 was also a year when sustainability continued to make global headlines and, as a business, I was really proud of the way in which everyone, in every area of Hillfoot, took ownership of the remit we’ve set for all of us to rethink how we can be even more sustainable. Given all the other issues that we’ve faced this year, it’s heartening to see that our ambition to be environmentally responsible hasn’t been compromised by the other challenges we have faced this year.
I’m also delighted that we’ve built a fantastic charity partnership with the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice who we’ll continue to support in 2022. To say that the 17 crew mates who took on their first ever Dragon Boat race back in September were chuffed at winning is an understatement. Not that we’re competitive in any way! It was a fantastic and inspirational moment for all of us.
Once again, a heart-felt thank you to all of you for supporting us in 2021, and may I wish you a healthy, safe and happy new year."
Craig James, Managing Director.