For the past 20 years, since Intermarché first arrived in Lagos, the company has been investing it being part of the local community. This cooperation goes beyond serving the most basic needs of all who visit the supermarket. Over the years, and after the beginning of the stores in Alvor and Aljezur, Anne and Franck Saintemarie have increase their interest and willingness to take an active role in the activities promoted by the municipalities where their stores are located and to contribute to various cultural and sports events while supporting solidarity causes.

This desire to alwayswork with those who invest in activities that entertain and culturally enrich the municipalities, takes place due to the store owners recognition of their social responsibility, according to them: “Large supermarket chains have a very important role within the communities in which they are located, since they supply homes to all of us, but, having a larger volume of business, social responsibility is increased. In addition to being linked to the growth of our stores, we have already assumed that we want to have a social role that distinguishes us from others”. The group of the three stores in the Barlavento region, strongly believes in the benefits brought by proximity to customers - “We definitely want to be more than a supermarket. We want to build a foundation of trust that goes beyond the quality of our products, our suppliers and our services”.

“Being more than a supermarket” is an ethos that is apparent in the daily actions of the managers who also believe in the benefits of a circular economy. “We live in the community, we are very present in our stores and we follow closely the concerns and willingness of organisations, groups and companies which have projects that enrich our municipalities and, for this reason, we want to help. The Algarve is a highly touristic region and our own stores benefit from this trade from foreign visitors, and the activities and projects that are promoted in our municipality are a great way to promote the best in this area. So if the cause makes sense for us and if it fits with our business model, as far as we can help, we will be there”.

One of the longest standing partnerships with Intermarché Lagos is in providing support to the Instituto Fonte de Vida, an IPSS (Particular Institution of Social Solidarity) dedicated to the reintegration of people in precarious situations in society, that also distributes meals and food baskets, or other types of supplies such as clothes, furniture, home appliances, books, toys, and even medicines, gas and electricity. In this sense, Intermarché Lagos has been participating for many years in the donations to the Fonte de Vida Institute in order to help the organisation reach the largest possible number of people in need in the municipality of Lagos.

Another IPSS that works closely with the Lagos hypermarket is NECI - Specialised Nucleus for the Inclusive Citizen, which responds to social needs such as social assistance, early intervention in childhood, promotes a centre for occupational activities and has a residential home. The most recent support was the solidarity campaign ‘Bebelândia’ which aimed at fundraising for nappies, hygiene and childcare products to help children from needy families. In this sense, the supermarket donated some of these products that are so important for the development and well-being of the families.

Among other entities with high importance in social care and assistance, the supermarket annually supports the Red Cross, the Mustard Seed and the Volunteer Firefighters of Lagos.

Regarding these contributions, the management states that “if we want to live and work in a community where people live well and are able to support their families, we, having the possibility to make this reality possible, have to help. Human relationships support everything else and we work for our customers and with business partners who are interested, like us, in seeing our community happy”.

Related to sports, the hypermarket is supporting groups, including the Clube Desportivo da Escola Gil Eanes, Roller Lagos and the Padel and Tennis Club of Lagos.

The group of stores is also present in projects related to schools. The most recent contribution made by Intermarché of Aljezur was in September of this year when, due to the pandemic situation, the Aljezur School Group carried out remodelling of the classroom spaces, to minimise the risks of Covid-19 s and also due to the need of a ceiling projector. The supermarket administration, when receiving this request, were very keen to offer their support “since education is a pillar in the development of our society. We were able to help and this equipment is an important aid for development teaching and the learning process”. At the time the school group were unable to acquire all the funds needed for the project initially, which led to Intermarché of Aljezur financially supporting the acquisition of the equipment.

In a community serviceand in an entirely free registration, “O Seu Quiosque”, in English, “Your kiosk” was created in November of this year at the Intermarché Lagos, which aims to provide a free rental space to all artists, small traders and social workers who were unable to exhibit their work, sell their pieces or divulge their causes with the cancellation of many fairs, exhibitions and markets due to the pandemic.

Aware and concerned with the economic and social impact of this situation, Intermarché Lagos was sensitive to the needs of those who saw, in these events, a possibility to show their work. The management believes that this is an excellent opportunity to give a space to many talents and projects that enrich the Algarve’s culture. Those who are interested in use the space can fill out an application at the store’s information desk or send it by email to reserve the dates they are interested in to use. This reservation can even be made several times a year. A proof that this space can be an opportunity for these artisans is that two projects have already been contacted directly by the commercial management of the three stores for their products to be sold at the Lagos store. This is the case of Mr. Joaquim Palmito’s 100 percent handmade caramels and the gluten-free vegan chocolates, based on organic products and handcrafted by Marina, a resident in Carrapateira, Aljezur, which has the project “Marmel”.

Still within the scope of environmental sustainability, in partnership with Zoo de Lagos, the three stores started on 16 December a solidarity collection of six teddies with the profits of the sales of the toys being given solely for wildlife conservation projects. Every two weeks, until 15 March 2021, you can buy a different toy that represents endangered species and know that the money is being put to a worthy cause.

As the Christmas season arrives and due to the current situation, there are many requests for help for needy families in a more fragile economic situation. For this reason, the three supermarkets have made more than 500 Christmas hampers available to the community, together with the respective councils and some local institutions and associations.

Certain of the importance of this workand the value of these relationships that link with such important partners in the community, the three supermarkets intend to continue their commitment to help the causes and all those who are dedicated to making things better, easier and happier. In the words of the administration, “for us it is important that our customers know that buying from our stores means much more than supplying their homes, it is also allowing us to reach those who need us most”.

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