In February 2020, ahead of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the novel coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) a global pandemic, FSB launched a campaign to help and guide its members through this extraordinary and damaging time. On 23 March the Prime Minister instructed a full UK lockdown to help stem the spread of the pandemic.
FSB has been at the forefront of helping small businesses through this time; through working with governments to ensure the best possible economic support and by providing guidance, resources and services.
Recognising that the hospitality sector is one of the worse affected by the COVID-19 crisis, FSB realised that targeted support was crucial to help these businesses reopen their premises safely and make sense of the complex guidance in these extraordinary times.
FSB Wessex set about to plan a series of events to help these businesses both survive and have the potential to thrive in the future. Three targeted virtual events were delivered in late June, including a range of experts who joined the events to impart advice, knowledge and support. The range of expertise made available included professionals from the following specialisms, most with a local attachment:
- Employment Law
- Health and Safety and Environmental Health
- Local Authorities
- Asian Catering Industry
- Business Innovation
- Small Business Policy
- Public Relations
The aim was that attendees should leave the session with the answers they needed, so guests were encouraged to ask questions in the session and were also invited to stay online to speak further with the experts.
Mel Varvel is owner of Dorset based mobile catering business ‘Totally Wonderfuel’, a business producing and selling delicious, nutritious energy food and great barista coffee from a small catering trailer. Four years in and she’s traded at numerous high (and low) profile sporting events across the South West, including the Tour of Britain, the National Trust Top of the Gorge Festival, and the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Mel’s business has been affected by the cancellation of all sporting events and gatherings.
As the economy slowly starts to reopen, Mel is planning how she keeps staff and customers safe and these events provided the ideal sounding board.
Mel said: “It was reassuring to be amongst a group of people in the industry asking the questions and debating the issues with the Legal and Environmental Health input to make good sense of the guidance. Even more reassuring was having the input from the Environmental Health leads from my own local councils, BCP and Dorset for the primary area in which I operate my business. I was very pleased that the sessions weren’t a ‘broad brush’ approach, and I was able to get the practical details I need, such as how other kiosks are handling cash in this pandemic situation”.
We have many more business support events scheduled, so please do visit our Events Calendar to find details.