By Master Dids Macdonald OBE

Over the past month, our welfare page and interactive brochure has received almost 3,000 visits.

One Step at a Time campaign

When I launched this campaign a year ago to raise awareness about our charity, I had absolutely no idea that our charity and welfare would matter so much on an hourly and daily basis. Never before has our country and our industry faced such monumental challenges not only from the COVID-19 virus, but from the consequences of UK shutdown, with business survival in question and individuals affected in so many ways – loss of income, loneliness through isolation and wondering where the next penny is coming from with bills still needing to be paid.

This pandemic took us all by surprise and turned our worlds upside down more or less overnight. With this has come an unprecedented rise in requests from those needing our help and we expect these to multiply overtime as the health, fiscal and mental challenges become greater.

What have we done to meet these welfare demands?

We have increased our welfare team to respond to the volume of calls for our help and sought the help of volunteers to train them to help process the myriads of calls for our support. Empathy and understanding at the end of the phone, as well as speedy processing of grants is essential. Help is usually needed immediately, therefore we have fine-tuned our processes and are constantly gearing up to demand. Our COVID-19 help page also signposts businesses to information about government and other support and intel. The trustees have also increased funds to meet demand.

Who have we helped? Well, out of the many….

Take Jamie who runs his own business fitting kitchens and bathrooms. Business was thriving, but new social distancing measures left him and his team unable to complete scheduled jobs. Unsure of when he would be able to resume work as normal, he reached out to The Furniture Makers’ Company. We quickly assessed the situation and were able to award a two-month hardship grant to help support him and his family.

And Joe, a self-employed furniture maker whose business is usually thriving, has seen a significant fall in sales due to the recent pandemic. He came across The Furniture Makers’ Company on the Turn 2 Us website and applied for a £500 self-employed grant. He has been struggling to pay for bills and food so had to survive on food banks, tax credits and housing benefits. We reviewed his application and issued him a grant hoping that this could bring a little relief.

Do you need help or support?

We know that, all too often, it is difficult to ask for help but it is so easy to visit our welfare page, welfare brochure or call our helpline where all requests will be considered sensitively, quickly and confidentially.

An urgent call to action – what can you do?

Now more than ever we need companies to offer to become One Step Champions – it’s so easy, it is a simple communications commitment to let your workforce or colleagues know about our occupational support. If you are one of our One Step Champions, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for stepping up to the mark and letting your workforce know where to go if they need help.

PLEASE, if you are not one of the 100+ companies who have signed up, do it now, it will only take a second of your time and could make the difference necessary between connection and help when it is needed most.

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