We are living in uncertain times. Here at Social Business Trust, we support social enterprises to grow and achieve their potential. This is no mean feat while we are in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We must address the enormous impact the effects of COVID-19 is going to have for us and indeed, the treasured members of our portfolio.

What can we all do to help?

Pay it forward

The wonderful folk at Crowdfunder are offering 100% free fundraising with the support of Enterprise Nation. Keep an eye out for local businesses and social enterprises starting a fundraising campaign to help them through the financial uncertainty.

If you are a social enterprise, consider taking advantage of the resource at Crowdfunder and rally your ambassadors to give what they can.

If you buy a service that cannot be provided during this time and you are in a financial position to do so, consider paying a percentage of what you would normally pay to help their business continue. This applies to all services sectors, from those super-heroes that look after your children while you go out to work, to your local deli.

Look out for face-to-face services switching to online – and take part.

Offer your time

For those of you who have volunteered your business skills to help one of our portfolio previously, or hoped to do so, please consider sparing some time to offer your skills to help our social enterprises with business continuity. Many of the social enterprises will be operating at a reduced capacity and your skills will be more valuable than ever.

What is the Government doing to help?

Undoubtedly, the plan of action will need refining and amending as we make our way through the uncertainty. It is worth revisiting what was outlined in the 2020 budget. It was a mere 6 days ago, but a lot has changed since then and maybe the resources outlined didn’t seem a necessity to those it now applies to.

2020 BUDGET 2020 RECAP

Statutory Sick Pay – eligibility will be extended to include any individual who is unable to work due to the need to self-isolate and people caring for those within the same household who display symptoms. For any business with under 250 employees, the government will cover the full cost of this for up to 14 days per employee.

£500m Hardship Fund – a £500m hardship fund has been created for local authorities to spend to support economically vulnerable people and households affected by the COVID-19.

Business Rate Relief – Business Rate Relief for Retail businesses will be increased to 50% in 2020-21. Small business Rate Relief is being increased from 50% to 100% in 2020-21. Pubs with a rateable value lower than £100,000 will receive a one-off £5,000 discount on the business rates.

Small Business £3,000 Grant Fund – all businesses that are eligible for small business rate relief will be able to get £3,000. Time to Pay – the government will create a bespoke “Time to Pay” arrangement for all businesses unable to pay taxes due to financial distress caused by COVID-19. This will give a time limited period for businesses to be able to pay their taxes. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – the government is providing loan guarantees to banks to enable them to give businesses short-term bridging loans to cope with instability caused by the virus.

Stick to reliable sources of information. The spreading of false information in the digital age is just as contagious as the virus itself. See below for trusted resources and up-to-date figures.

NHS coronavirus advice 

Government guidance on coronavirus

World Health Organisation (WHO) coronavirus advice 

Health and Safety Executive 

World Health Organisation – coronavirus mythbusters  

Stay safe.

Adele Blakebrough, CEO, Social Business Trust