Let’s all help to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on communities, especially for those who are the most vulnerable.

STAY AT HOME | WASH YOUR HANDS | SAVE LIVES

The potential consequences and disruption of COVID-19 on our communities is a growing concern and businesses are acting to mitigate the negative impact. Income to the voluntary sector will be severely challenged by this crisis, caused by postponed events and cancelled meetings with prospective funders alongside disruption to previously planned fundraising activity.

If there is ever a time to mobilise and take action to scale, it is now. The way we and our members come together to focus resource and address the increasingly evident economic and social impact of COVID-19 is exactly why Business in the Community (BITC) exists.

During this critical time, we are focusing our efforts on calling on all businesses to take action by doing three things:

  • Supporting each other
  • Prioritising the people for whom they are responsible
  • Taking action now to help their local communities, and those that will need our help

We need a real time breakthrough.

Support for the nations and regions of the UK

BITC has many years’ experience of supporting business at moments of crisis to engage in the most effective and practical ways and reduce the overload and mass requests made of the very organisations and partners that we want to help rather than slow down. We have a network of collaborative business hubs led by the Prince’s Responsible Business Ambassadors standing by ready in each nation and region, to help us coordinate support in the most effective ways.

To do this we have asked all our members to share the actions they are taking so we can create a new resource for you to use under three key areas:

  1. Practical actions for your business

Keeping your business going and supporting suppliers and customers through financial and logistical challenge. The first of our resource is now available and more will follow.

  • Suppliers & SME’s: download the factsheet
  • Customers
  • Product & Services
  • Supporting your employees: Support for You
  1. Government advice and guidance

Measures for the workforce include:

  • Stay at Home | Wash your Hands | Save Lives
  • Business support grant schemes of £10K and £25K respectively, interruption loan schemes, rates support, deferring income tax payments and deferring VAT payments.
  • Job Retention Scheme announced by the Chancellor – This scheme will provide up to £2,500 a month for those employees not working, and the increases to both working tax credit and universal credit by £1,000 per year will also help to protect our most vulnerable.
  • Jobs & Benefits current information
  • Gov.uk: Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19

Take a whole person approach

Business in the Community (BITC) promotes a whole person approach to wellbeing that covers mental, physical, social and financial aspects. With COVID-19, all these strands of wellbeing are at risk and responsible employers and managers can help reduce those risks for themselves and colleagues to stay well as possible.

Advice for employers

We would urge employers to be clear and practical about how they support their workforce to absorb extra responsibilities, reviewing their emergency dependant’s leave and avoid making any gendered assumptions about who will step in.

Resources

Encourage employees to protect themselves and others against Coronavirus by following NHS advice. Download marketing resources related to the current COVID-19 response from the PHE Campaign Resource Centre.

  1. Supporting communities

COVID-19 – Help for Communities

Funding: Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund

Support from NICVA: https://www.nicva.org/article/nicvas-advice-on-managing-the-impact-of-coronavirus

BERG remains active during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG), was created to help businesses and communities across the UK to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. BERG is an influential network of UK business leaders and strategic partners that include national charities and UK government departments. The network is convened by Business in the Community and led in Northern Ireland by John Thompson of Translink.

Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. Of the 5.7 million businesses in the UK, 99.9 per cent are small and medium-sized enterprises, employing 16.1 million people which accounts for 60 per cent of total employment. These same businesses are at risk of being disproportionately impacted by disruptive events such as a fire, flood or cyber-attack. Without proper preparation, any one of these events could result in business failure and potentially life-changing consequences for owners and employees.

Click here for more information.

We are also sharing stories of what our members and doing and how. If you have any great examples of how your business is supporting the community, please contact Suzi McIlwain at suzi.mcilwain@bitcni.org.uk or share your news at www.bitcni.org.uk/share-your-news.