Shared Agenda, under the umbrella of the Sewell Group, has joined businesses from across the UK in an initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens to pull through the coronavirus crisis.
Former Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, has launched the C-19 Business Pledge. The national scheme encourages businesses to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities across Britain get through the crisis.
It is targeting not just the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also the challenges of recovery. It comes after Justine received a huge response from businesses getting in touch with her and willing to be part of a national effort.
The initiative has already received the backing of employers representing over 250,000 staff and students.
As well as Sewell Group, they include BP, Everton Football Club, National Grid, DLA Piper, Severn Trent Water and investment company True Potential.
Universities have also risen to the challenge, meanwhile, with Bolton Group, Bradford, Bishop Grosseteste, Brunel, Northampton, York St John, Staffordshire and Leeds Beckett universities all putting pledges forward.
Employers who sign up to the pledge give their backing to three main objectives built around employees, customers and communities. They will not only help Britain through the immediate challenges of coronavirus but also through its recovery.
- Firstly, to support their own employees throughout and beyond this challenging time. For example, this could include practical support and advice on financial security, mental health, personal wellbeing as well as reintegration back into work for those who have experienced an extended period away from the workplace.
- Secondly, to publish clear and simple advice for customers. Where possible they could have specialist teams dedicated to supporting customers if they are having problems, such as those facing repayment difficulties and vulnerable customers, as RBS has done.
- Thirdly, doing what they can to help communities in Britain through the epidemic. Over the coming months, we are likely to see a sharp increase in isolation, loneliness, mental health and household financial issues in our communities across the country. There will be an increased need for communities to come together with practical support, such as food deliveries, collections and financial assistance for organisations that specialise in supporting vulnerable people.
Justine Greening said: “With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding in sectors across the UK, businesses face many incredibly difficult decisions.
“But those companies who are able to, can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.
“In spite of everything, lots of businesses have already shown amazing initiative and commitment to helping people affected by coronavirus. The C19 business pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done. The early response has been incredible and I’ll do everything I can to help to connect up British business to play its role.”
Jo Barnes, Managing Director of Shared Agenda, said: “The aspirations of the C-19 Business Pledge are very closely aligned with our own. We know that our people and our customers are the key to keeping our business moving throughout much more uncertainty to come and they have been a big area of our focus.
“But community support is key for protection and morale. A crisis like this really gives us the opportunity to rise to meet the challenge and that’s what we’ll continue to do over the coming weeks.”
For more on the C-19 Business Pledge visit www.c19businesspledge.org
To view our COVID-19 statement, click here.