5 amazing ways small businesses are helping our communities

Blogs 5 Jun 2020

Providing PPE, volunteering for the NHS and supporting vulnerable customers – discover how our small businesses are helping local communities during COVID-19

Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, small businesses are continuing to be at the heart of our communities.

FSB’s new report, New Horizons, shows that despite facing incredibly difficult circumstances, small businesses have been supporting local communities, including through providing PPE, volunteering for the NHS and supporting vulnerable customers.

Here are five ways small businesses are continuing to give back.

1. Supporting vulnerable customers

Government measures to protect the most vulnerable in society has led to millions of people across the UK having to shield.  

FSB found that a third of small business owners prioritised and supported vulnerable customers, with around one in five offering free home deliveries. One local farm shop took phone orders from older people and prepacked orders for collection.

2. Delivering the essentials

The lockdown has meant small businesses have been forced to adapt quickly to sustain their business. For some, the pandemic has brought with it their first experience of offering a home delivery service.

Many food and drink suppliers used doorstep deliveries through milk wholesalers to continue to offer their products, with some advertising locally delivered ‘cooked to order’ food.

We have also seen independent businesses delivering groceries, free food and coffee to our NHS workers on the front line.

3. Donating to local food banks

Amidst the panic buying and uncertainty of the pandemic, food banks have become even more critical for those in our communities affected by the impact on businesses, jobs and the economy. Trussell Trust reported an 81% increase in demand for their food banks compared to the same period last year.

FSB’s Covid-19 Small Business Impact Survey (2020) found that nearly a quarter of small firms have donated to local food banks during the crisis, supplying them with essential resources.

4. Carrying out community roles

Small businesses are helping others and their communities in extraordinary ways, despite facing obstacles. FSB found that 57 per cent of small businesses have been carrying out key community roles during the crisis.

Responses to the crisis have often been creative and innovative, but also compassionately mindful and supportive of the local communities where the businesses operate. Small business owners have gone above and beyond to help their communities through these challenging times.        

5. Helping key workers and providing PPE

Being in business means you always have to adapt. FSB found that 23 per cent of small businesses have innovated their business to provide PPE for frontline workers, as well as volunteer for the NHS.

FSB member SL Engineering, based near Grantham, Lincolnshire, responded to the Government’s call for help with manufacturing ventilators. They volunteered to make ventilator components for the NHS via the Ventilator Consortium, along with a number of companies. Since the beginning of April, the consortium has received orders for more than 8,000 units.

Small businesses, such as hotels, have signed up to offer accommodation to key workers. These are just some of the incredible things small businesses have been doing to show support to our communities in difficult times. As businesses slowly start to reopen into a new normal, it’s important that we show them our support too.

Find news guides and resources to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic on our Coronavirus Hub.