The world is a worrying place at the moment. People are facing a time of unprecedented uncertainty. As well as thinking about the health of their families and colleagues, they are also considering how best to support their local communities and user groups (many of whom are vulnerable), and think about how their social enterprise might fare if income dries up or staff become ill.
Despite this, I have two very positive thoughts. The first is that this is a time when social enterprises can really step up and come into their own. We’ve recently seen the amazing way that social enterprises have supported local communities affected by flooding, and now we’re seeing organisations offer help and support in all sorts of ways to people affected by the virus.
Secondly, social enterprises are not alone. Social Business Wales and its team of expert advisors are on hand to provide help with enquiries about cash flow, HR, digital platforms, marketing and communications and a range of other areas which might need re-thinking in light of the current situation. We can provide advice via telephone or through video conferencing – just phone us on 0300 111 5050 or email sbwenquiries(at)wales.coop if you need our support. Events are moving very fast, we are working as a team to develop specific tools that will be accessible in the coming days and weeks on http://businesswales.gov.wales/socialbusinesswales
Emergency fast track loans from the WCVA:
Just as parts of Wales are coming to terms with the effects of the recent flooding, Coronavirus becomes the next challenge. In response to this, Social Investment Cymru at WCVA is offering emergency fast-track loans to voluntary sector organisations in Wales to help see them through the worst of the effects. More information is available here.
Keep up to date with Business Wales’ latest corona virus advice at https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice
With more people confined to their homes, technology can help us stay connected and help to keep our businesses running. Virtual meetings and virtual events can help us to support one another, and the causes closest to us. Useful resources include the Learn My Way programme which has free step by step courses covering topics such as video calling, watching and listening online and socialising online. CAST’s practical guide to remote meetings will also be useful for organisations.
Co-operatives UK have useful information on protecting employees from the spread of infection and how to approach certain situations linked with the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus: How social enterprises & charities can prepare:
The School for Social Entrepreneurs have advice for social enterprises including continuing to support clients and beneficiaries, business planning and communications planning.
It’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve seen positive stories of communities and community based business coming together collectively to face the challenges faced by Covid 19. As values based organisations, we know that our sector will come together and deliver for the people and communities we serve to the best of our ability. Help us spread good news stories and positivity during what can feel like dark times, let us know how your social business is helping people deal with the epidemic and we’ll share far and wide on our social media channels and blog.