Last week it was a real privilege for Team Boo to celebrate and champion Living Wage week. Boo became a Living Wage employer in 2016 because it absolutely fits with our values.
We fundamentally believe that employers have a responsibility to pay their staff fairly for the work they do and we have seen the positive impact that paying the Living Wage has on our staff and on our business. We couldn’t ask for a more motivated and engaged team and being a Living Wage employer is central to upholding our values. Put simply, it’s the right thing to do!
Our Director, Becci Martin, shared her personal experiences of what it is like to grow up with poverty impacting on the family. She said;
“I chose to become a Living wage employer because I want to support families, communities and our local economy to grow. Experiencing poverty at a young age is not only life changing but potentially life limiting (with loads of research out there on poor outcomes and lack of options which lead to major inequalities) and I am determined to do what I can to improve the situation that members of our community find themselves in.”
To launch Living Wage week, we attended the regional celebration event at the Manchester Football museum. Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham announced the new Living Wage rates which have risen to £9 an hour and it was fantastic to see his support for the movement and the challenge he offered to all employers to consider becoming Living Wage accredited. It was fantastic to see the event attended by major employers like Ikea, proving that it’s possible to pay the Living Wage in sectors like retail, who have such a predominance of lower paid employees.
Whilst it’s fantastic to celebrate the Living Wage movement with other like-minded employers, we were surprised to discover that we are one of only 19 Living Wage Employers in Bolton. To spread the word in our hometown we hosted our first Living Wage Business Breakfast at Boo HQ, welcoming other Living Wage employers and those who weren’t yet accredited but wanted to find out more. Boo is fortunate to be based at All Souls Bolton, a home we share with two other Living Wage employers, Starts with you and Huddle Up. The Business Breakfast was a fantastic opportunity to make new connections with like-minded business and it galvanised out intention to inspire more businesses to join the movement. We all agreed that 19 accredited employers in Bolton just isn’t enough and that our community deserves better. As a result we pledged to double the number of Living Wage employers in Bolton in 2019.
Boo is one of the founder members of the Social Business Collective which gathers once a month and brings together small businesses who like us, are driven to make a positive social impact in Bolton. This month our gathering focused on the Living Wage, raising awareness amongst other small businesses of the sound business benefits such as improving reputation and increasing staff retention. It was a privilege to hear those businesses who are already Living Wage employers share their stories about why it means so much to them and their staff. Our members also reinforced the importance of small business owners paying themselves the Living Wage.
Team Boo were moved by this fantastic poem from Billie Meredith who performed this piece at the Living Wage week launch event. It resonated deeply with us as at its heart, paying the Living Wage is about social justice. No one should be living in poverty in the UK in 2018 and championing the Living Wage is just one way that we are fighting to redress the balance. You can watch Billie’s poem here: