A food manufacturing business in Carlisle has launched a £1 million welfare fund to support its staff through the coronavirus pandemic.

2 Sisters Food Group, which owns Cavaghan and Gray, has launched the fund to help those who are in financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 outbreak..

The support will include:

n Non-repayable welfare payments

n Additional leave (paid or unpaid) for those who need additional time to sort out any financial difficulties

n External and internal support from experts to help manage people’s finances and budget issues

Ronald Kers, chief executive officer at 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “We are proud of our role in helping feed the nation and the huge importance of the thousands of our colleagues across the UK who play a vital role.

“We do recognize that especially during tough times, our colleagues lives can be turned upside down by job losses in their household, by bereavement or long-term illness.

"Quite often things on the surface may seem OK, but in fact there can be hidden hardship and it can happen for many reasons.

“This is why we’re reaching out to colleagues who may need that extra help right now. We are launching today a £1m welfare fund and further support package, to help our colleagues, where we can.”

The company said it examined various options in the past week.

A spokesman said: "It is clear that coronavirus will continue to affect us all for many months to come, and after examining the various options for the past few weeks, the business is pleased to confirm the further support it can offer colleagues who may be struggling financially."

The Cavaghan and Gray food production factory is based in Brunel Way.

In 2018 it won a major contract to supply M&S, creating 200 jobs.