Monday, 23 March 2020

COVID-19 iSE Response and Support for the Sector

COVID-19 iSE Response and Support for the Sector

A message from iSE CEO Srah Crawley

Following on from the previous news that iSE CIC took a difficult but responsible decision to cancel City Drive 2020, and a turbulent week of announcements from Government, I wanted to provide an update on iSE activity, how we see the impact of COVID-19 on the West Midlands social enterprise sector and what support we are working on to help social enterprises get through this challenging time.

Firstly, the team and our networks have been working incredibly hard to review information and still maintain the ‘day job’ while managing many additional communications across iSE CICDigbeth Social Enterprise Quarter and the Women’s Enterprise Hub.
Secondly, we’re also aware there is a vast range of information being shared from many different sources… some well-founded, some a little less so which can add to individual stress and anxiety (personally and professionally) at this time.
With this in mind, we have pulled together a number of references, resource documents and useful links that we feel provide robust and relevant information for the sector.
Eden Community Action 2

We also want to reaffirm a message of kindness, which has been embodied by the outpouring of positive community-minded action.

We wanted to thank everyone who has messaged us, helped a neighbour or supported a colleague in recent weeks – it shows that a caring, civil society is about ‘us not me’ and we can all #DoMoreGood in these difficult times.
More updates will follow here, as and when there is new information that we can signpost you to.
Stay safe and well, and please get in touch if you need social enterprise guidance or support across Birmingham and the West Midlands. We will endeavour to help wherever and whenever possible.
Sarah Crawley (CEO, iSE CIC) | 0121 771 1411 |

Taking control of any challenging situation can help reduce your personal anxiety.
Here are our practical tips to help you manage your response to COVID-19 impacts on your enterprise or personal situation…
> Most of all, understanding your numbers is critical - identify and itemise what it costs to run your business each week or month. Be honest with yourself!
> How long can we ‘keep the lights on for’ – what’s your sustainability if your income reduces.
> Set up a spreadsheet with details of your staff, including their length of continuous employment, contract type, monthly/weekly cost and whether they are critical to the operation of your business.
> Make an appointment with your local Business Banking Manager and see if you can extend or apply for an overdraft or ask about the Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – more information due 23rd March 2020.
> Speak to HM Revenue and Customs. They will suspend debt collection if you contact them and reach an agreement. In addition, the normal interest on deferred tax payments will be waived. Please accept that they will be inundated, and are only human - please be patient, and kind, they are knowledgeable and supportive if you approach them early.
HMRC Corona Virus Business Support Line: 0300 456 3565
HMRC Self Assessment Helpline: 0800 015 9559
> Join a local online group (Facebook is the most popular local platform for this) and seek support and ideas from other local businesses, whether it’s keeping your children occupied and educated while at home, activity packs, free things to do or businesses coming together with offers of support
> Share, collaborate and stay connected with your networks, whether it’s ideas, innovations or general support with others.
> Check Government guidance for the Self Employed HERE – grants are likely to be distributed via local Councils (more information to follow, expected 23rd March 2020). See some further information from Enterprise Nation on Self Employed ability to claim early Universal Credits here.
> Check updates and what support is available on the Government website HERE
> Check the latest health and well-being guidelines from NHS HERE

Links and resources for your business
BVSC and Birmingham City Council – Communities Working Together
GOVERNMENT – Response Survey
PIONEERS POST ARTICLE - Social Enterprise Support
PIONEERS POST – Social Investors Come Together
SOCIAL INVESTMENT BUSINESS - Covid19 Resources and Information
GOOD FINANCE – Resource Hub
BANKS - Funds are being made available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group, £5 billion from NatWest and £7 billion from Barclays
HEART OF ENGLAND – Corona Virus Resilience Appeal

THOMSON REUTUERS - Global Coronvirus Toolkit
ANTHONY COLLINS SOLICITORS – ACS COVID19 briefing(6687236.3) March 2020
THOMAS REUTERS - Global Corona Virus Toolkit
GOVERNMENT ONLINE - Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme
TOAST ALE – Digital Tap Room
FIND IT IN BIRMINGHAM – Help for Birmingham Businesses
BUSINESS IN THE COMMUNITY – Sustainable Development Goals
BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE - Prepare for the Impact of COVID-19
GOVERNMENT - Guidance for Charities
CIVIL SOCIETY NEWS - Government Wages Scheme and Charities

Stay safe,

The iSE team

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