Former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon @JustineGreening has launched @C19Pledge with entrepreneur David Harrison. @HITTraining Ltd has joined businesses from across the UK in the C-19 Business Pledge initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens to pull through the coronavirus crisis.
The national scheme encourages employers 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 and universities 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 1.5 million staff and students.
As well as HIT Training, they include BP, Everton Football Club, National Grid, DLA Piper, Severn Trent Water, national investment firm True Potential, global publishing firm Emerald Group and software provider Advanced.
Also on board are tech giant Konica Minolta, Yorkshire-based Sewell Group and law firm Shoosmiths.
Universities have also risen to the challenge 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 organisations 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 employers have already shown amazing initiative and commitment to helping people affected by coronavirus. The C-19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses and universities 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 British business to play its role.”
Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training, added:
“With such challenging and uncertain times ahead, businesses need to be agile and responsive in order to protect the future of our industries, our people and the wider community.
“As a training provider, we firmly believe that skills development must continue, despite many businesses being forced to close and a great number of employees furloughed. To support our clients and their apprentices during this challenging time and into the future, we have made a long-term commitment to offer all training courses online. We’ve also developed a bank of free online resources, which include practical advice on continuing effective learning at home, as well as support on protecting mental health and wellbeing. Taking this further, we’ve collaborated with HospoLive, a free Facebook video stream that has already attracted over 80,000 viewers, to offer free online training courses for the wider hospitality industry.
“We’ve also launched a volunteering scheme so that our employees can support the community and make a positive difference during such challenging times – whether that’s a weekly phone call with an elderly neighbour, or shopping and delivering supplies to those in need.”
About the C-19 Business Pledge
Founded by former cabinet minister, Rt Hon. Justine Greening, and entrepreneur David Harrison, the C-19 Business Pledge aims to harness the power of business as a force for good in tackling the Coronavirus epidemic.
We understand many businesses will be working hard to ensure they are able to continue in this turbulent time. We acknowledge that this will involve difficult decisions.
But for those that can, we are asking them to help in the national effort with their employees, customers and communities. By mobilising that collective effort, we can support those most in need through this crisis.
To encourage UK businesses and universities to be a force for good by making a commitment to doing what they can to tackle Coronavirus (COVID-19).
These objectives are not only about helping our country get through the immediate challenges of Coronavirus, they are also about the recovery. Business has a crucial role to play in helping to rebuild Britain over the medium to long term.
There are three ways that we believe businesses can have an immediate and long-lasting impact:
Businesses can join the national effort by developing Action Plans to support their own staff 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. For example Severn Trent Water have put clear action plans in place to protect their staff when making home visits and are prioritising vulnerable customers.
More immediately, it should include disseminating the latest NHS COVID-19 advice.
Businesses can join the national effort by publishing clear and simple advice for customers. Where possible they should 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.
This could include prioritising those customers who are isolated and vulnerable, ensuring they do not become disconnected and can easily access services, for example through priority helplines and dedicated support. Others may wish to consider waiving some fees for customers and suppliers who may experience financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus.
Businesses can join the national effort by committing to help Britain through the Coronavirus 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.
The way Britain’s businesses work is changing. So too will their relationship with the communities they serve, bringing greater emphasis on grassroots community action.
This could also include support for community projects where they operate, as national wealth management firm True Potential, based in the North East, is doing by providing assistance to local hospices and charities that support the elderly and vulnerable.
The C-19 Business Pledge is driven by the Social Mobility Pledge – a campaign for businesses to be a force for good by delivering a level playing field on opportunity and boosting social mobility in the UK. The Social Mobility Pledge is a growing coalition of over 500 organisations; 450 businesses employing almost 4 million people across the UK, as well as over 50 UK universities representing over 1 million students.
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