Client Focus - Ubisoft CRC

Dropping into Ubisoft CRC is always a total pleasure. The building itself is a light and airy city centre hub of activity above Newcastle’s Haymarket, with an interior layout designed to flow considerately between work, quiet, and gathering spaces.

Today we’re here to meet Rachel Bowden, the Workplace Co-ordinator, who greets us on the ground floor to help bring up today’s delivery, which includes a special order of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes – autumn is coming into the office! In fact, there’s always something fun and unique happening here.

Rachel Bowden - Ubisoft CRC, Workplace Co-ordinator

Earlier in the week the staff team celebrated the launch of the new video game ‘Far Cry 6’. Based around a story of revolution in a fictional Caribbean country, we arrive to find the entrance to the building has been dressed like a set from the game, with jungle foliage, a ‘burning’ barrel, and a havoc wreaking chicken in a studded choker (a character from the game, of course). Not generally what you expect to come across on a delivery run at 9am on a Wednesday morning.

“Ooo yes, get a photo of him!” Rachel is brimming with enthusiasm and generosity as usual as she opens the lift for us and our boxes. “We had so much fun at the launch. Game launches are probably the most exciting days for our people because everyone’s common ground is their love of gaming, it’s the common denominator.” And when it comes to celebrating a milestone like this the company really does go all out to make it about the team, with an approach that’s both playful and inclusive.

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In fact inclusivity is at the heart of the Ubisoft CRC approach to wellbeing. “Most of our staff are from europe or the middle east so people don’t have family support or established networks on hand. Aside from work, there’s potential for some of those people to feel isolated or alone so we really do try to do everything to bring everyone together and make it a family. It’s great to have people returning to the office now. We’re social animals really, people thrive on connection and community.”

And even though play is no doubt second nature to an international video games company, there is also care with a more serious focus on offer here. Mental and physical health initiatives are available to every team member and run alongside practical health support such as physiotherapy. Using Feelgood as a workplace fruit supplier is in harmony with that holistic approach to wellbeing, as Rachel explained,

“When it comes to our team, we do everything we can to respond to their needs. We want everyone to feel supported as individuals, not just employees, and protecting their whole well being is part of our ethic.”

“Offering a supply of fresh fruit to our staff is about so much more than healthy eating. From a company viewpoint, we want our team to know that we actively care about their mental and physical wellbeing. It’s a simple thing, but the fruit really helps to send that message, and the take up and feedback is always great.”

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Turning outward, Ubisoft CRC are always looking for ways to feed into and connect with organisations working to improve the lives of people in our regional community too, and when we begin to discuss the new focus of Feelgood Fruit, it’s clear that this is something Rachel is really passionate about.

Since September Feelgood has committed to using £1 of profit from every fruit box sold to help deliver fresh, nutritionally rich, food to people who are suffering from food insecurity in the Northeast.

“It’s such a shame that it’s so hard to find anywhere that can take in fresh food and pass it on to the people who really need it. We’ve done food drives before for food banks who are doing an amazing job, but it’s all dried foods and tins of things.”

Rachel is right of course, it’s a huge infrastructural challenge to store and supply fresh produce, making it hard for food insecure people to access. To compound the problem, food banks and community organisations that have been a lifeline for so many are now absolutely stretched to the limit, and the number of people accessing them is unlikely to reduce in the foreseeable future. That’s why we’re teaming up with some fantastic community partners over the next year to see if we can help bridge the gap.

So far this September, thanks to our corporate clients buying fruit from us, and in collaboration with our first community partner St Vincent’s Newcastle, we were able to fund approximately 320 made-from-scratch, hot, free meals for people in our community suffering from food insecurity.

On Ubisoft CRC’s behalf, Rachel didn’t hesitate to go the extra distance and add a weekly box of 50 pieces of fruit to that fresh food total through September, making a real difference to the people who access St Vincent’s Byker based community centre for services, support and friendship. The really exciting thing is, the more businesses choose us for their workplace fruit and milk supply, the more we can give! We’re really excited to see what we can achieve together on the run up to the end of the year.

As our meeting comes to an end, we wander into the open plan staff kitchen area where a few people have gathered around the pumpkins, sharing stories about autumn, childhood memories, and comfort food recipes (the visual prompt is already working it’s magic, bringing people together and getting them talking). I find myself swept along in the conversation and mention my legendary (well.. in my house at least) mac ‘n’ cheese recipe featuring squash and a dash of mustard powder. Sadly the business of the day presses on and it’s time for us to leave, but Rachel’s sparkling enthusiasm has set the tone for a great day… and I know exactly what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Many thanks to Rachel for taking the time to share her insights and approach to workplace wellbeing with us.