Social Business Trust (SBT) and its nine corporate partners came together in March to help the social enterprises within SBT’s portfolio and beyond respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Through project Rainbow, an army of volunteers provided rapid practical solutions to enable business continuity and ensure those most in need were supported.

SBT’s corporate partners, Bain, Charles Russell Speechlys, Clifford Chance, EY, Getronics, Permira, Permira Debt Managers, Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters all committed their support to SBT. This support included the provision of personal protective equipment, access to supply networks, operational support, legal advice and financial modelling.

The social enterprises in the SBT portfolio include those operating front line operations, such as London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) which is providing childcare for key workers, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) which provides meals and provisions to Hertfordshire’s vulnerable adults, and Refettorio Felix that normally provides a drop-in centre for the socially isolated in West London, but has now switched to a take-away lunch service.

SBT Rainbow delivered more than 150,000 items of critical PPE to social enterprises through the supply chains of the corporate partners. This has enabled business continuity across the portfolio, including to keep ICAN charity schools open, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) nurseries open and Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) continue to feed and support vulnerable older people in their homes. These provisions also helped Bikeworks, who have repurposed their business model to become couriers of COVID-19 tests, working with 11 London Boroughs, making more than 3,000 drops.

Other support included, a series of webinars for Chairs and CEOs on navigating the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), followed up with 1-1 legal advice addressing the portfolio’s specific business needs and leading Boards in crisis. Corporate partners worked on larger projects, including assisting London’s largest NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership across eight Boroughs with their resource allocation framework  and a number of digital projects.

“Help during good times is a great thing, but help in a crisis is beyond price! Social Business Trust and its partners have been great friends to HILS over the last five years, through investment, expert advice, and support. Over the past few weeks, during the COVID-19 crisis, they have reached out even further by providing resources, supply routes, and just last week, the fantastic news of further investment and partner-input.” 
-Sarah Wren, CEO, HILS

A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in SBT Rainbow.