There are so many businesses out there doing fantastic things to help others but they aren’t always recognised in the way they should be. That's why we're on the look out for companies going above and beyond to help others during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Examples may include businesses adapting their production lines to manufacture critical PPE, those helping local NHS hospitals, care services and front line staff, or lending a hand to support the more vulnerable in the local community. They're all heroes in their own way!
Congratulations to the following companies and individuals that have been nominated as Doncaster Business Heroes.
ClickView, the world’s leading producer of educational videos is nominated for their work to support Doncaster’s schools and families. Through the Doncaster Council Education Team and Opportunities Doncaster they have provided free of charge access to their curriculum-aligned videos for every school teacher, parent and pupil in Doncaster.
To further their response they have subsequently made their videos freely available, not just for Doncaster, but for everyone across the whole of the UK.
Accessing the content is easy. There are no logins or subscriptions required and no obligations to users during COVID-19. Simply head to www.clickview.co.uk/free and start using the videos immediately.
Club Doncaster lit up the Keepmoat Stadium with a message of thanks for the heroes at the NHS.
The lights offered a message of thanks to the incredible frontline NHS staff and all the key workers who are keeping the country safe during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
As well as this show of appreciation, Club Doncaster have run a number of fundraising projects for NHS charities, whilst the club’s relationship with official hydration drinks partner - iPRO has seen the latter donate 800 bottles of its low-sugar hydration drinks to fuel medical staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Club Doncaster - Lauren Cuttell
Lauren Cuttell is the Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator at Club Doncaster. When Covid-19 started to affect daily life, she took that opportunity to challenge how the club could continue to support their local community, even when they weren’t able to be there with them in person. The weeks before lockdown were spent filming sessions, cooking tutorials and loaning out equipment to participants, including supporting the distribution of all bike hires to those that needed them.
Lauren is now supporting the delivery of Home Goals, a virtual campaign to support people working from home and not able to access sports or activities. As part of her role she is delivering sessions, cooking tutorials and facilitating social connections between the community. Their Facebook page has gained over 500 users in just two weeks and is growing quickly. None of their team could have envisaged delivering sessions from their gardens or front rooms, but Lauren has taken it in her stride and continues to support the community in this tough time.
Coffee Corner - Mike and Michelle Hallam
On 20 March 20 Nicola Anderson and her husband decided to set up a support group for the villages of Skellow and Carcroft, and planned a volunteer support allocation for each street in both villages - quite a task with all the variables and uncertainty the pandemic has brought with it.
Michelle contacted Nicola and offered the services of herself and her husband as volunteers, as well as the use of her premises as a much needed base for the group to run from, to collect much needed donations and distribute essentials boxes and food parcels to the elderly and vulnerable across both villages.
Both Michelle and Mike also give up their time to purchase the necessary goods required for all service users – in effect it couldn’t run without them.
Cromwells Bar and Restaurant
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus Becki at Cromwells Bar and Restaurant in Conisbrough has reconfigured and diversified her business model to provide a delivery and takeaway service, taking her cooking skills to an entirely new level working long hours to source the best ingredients for the job.
Working mainly on her own with help from some colleagues, and working within the right safe conditions, she manages to get the job done. Whether it's her first plate of food or her last she puts the same amount of effort and presentation skills into every dish, selling out all the time.
The Crown Hotel - Keegan James Loveday
The Crown Hotel Bawtry Chef Keegan James Loveday has switched his day job as a chef to becoming a Service Assistant Volunteer for the NHS based at the local Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Keegan, from Retford, was put on furlough after the hotel closed its doors following government guidelines with Covid-19 in March.
Keegan explains “I was devastated as I love my job, but found after two weeks of just being home I needed to do something to help out during the crisis, and what better way than working as a Service Assistant volunteer in the hospital. I applied online and after various security checks I was accepted. My jobs have involved cleaning wards and public areas, moving patients around the hospital, helping with laundry and post – the list is endless but I am enjoying a new challenge whilst knowing I am helping out during these trying times”.
He added “Working in the PPE is a challenge whilst complying with social distancing measures and procedures, but I am used to working in the heat and pressure of a busy commercial kitchen at the Crown. Just being able to get out of the house and help and meet a wide variety of people has helped me out mentally. Once the hotel re-opens though I cannot wait to get back being behind the hot plate serving our delicious food – especially my favourites, scallops and steak!”
Amy Ellis has owned and run Hamilton’s Meals for the past seven years delivering freshly cooked meals to the elderly and vulnerable in Doncaster. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been inundated with clients who are isolating and have even taken more on board to ensure they are safe and eating properly while this scary period is happening.
Amy and colleagues have been working flat out to ensure every person has a freshly cooked meal, adding extra delivery times and extended delivery radius to meet their goal. The whole team deserve recognition as they put themselves on the frontline in order to provide the service they do to those who need them most.
J7 Privacy Glass
The team at J7 Privacy Glass have been using their time and resources while the business is closed to make visors for frontline workers. Hand-made from a security film which is normally used to protect glass from vandal damage, neoprene foam and an elastic headband are then added to complete the visor.
The visors are being donated to anyone that requires one, with the team delivering them to carers and care homes, nurses, prison staff and shop workers. To date J7 Privacy Glass have delivered approximately 1000 visors, with requests for more, and over 22,000 views of just one Facebook post alone!
The company originally funded the project themselves but soon realised how big the demand was for the PPE so have created a GoFundMe page to raise further funds for materials. The team will continue to make the visors for as long as they are required.
K.D. Davis and Sons Green Grocers
Throughout the lockdown the whole team at K.D Davis and Sons have managed to work together to bring fresh produce to the communities that need it. They always deliver with a smile, they’re friendly and personable and they go above and beyond with their customer services.
Their loyal customers have been using their services for years, and have nominated the company in order to tell everybody about their amazing produce, and more importantly right now, the way they’ve revamped and reconfigured their entire operations model and online presence to get essential food to families in Doncaster.
They have worked all the hours they can and the impact has been remarkable.
Knowledge Pool - Yetunde Elebuibon-Craig
Yetunde Elebuibon-Craig is a Business Analyst at Capita PCSE. Outside of her working hours she is also the Director and founder of Knowledge Pool, a non-profit organisation that provides free IT training, CV review services, Business Analysis and Project Management Training. Knowledge Pool has been active for one year. Yetunde has been nominated as a Business Hero for working on several projects for Knowledge Pool: DevicesDotNow, BME United training and the Doncaster Community fighting back Fund projects.
The DevicesDotNow scheme helps vulnerable and digitally excluded people (who are part of the 1.9 million digitally excluded households) across the country to stay connected and in touch during this crisis.
Yetunde managed the process of identifying ten individuals ranging from: a mother of six children with no device to study, a young man only able to communicate via his friends' phone, a 71-year-old self-isolating woman unable to order her prescriptions and a registered-blind self-isolating man who hadn't been able to contact his children in months, to name but a few. She delivered the devices to the recipients and managed the follow-up process to get them comfortable with using them.
BME United Doncaster Project
Yetunde gave BME United Doncaster the idea to set up and launch virtual classes for their members and the wider community, creating an e-calendar to communicate the event across channels and helping them to set up a virtual collaborative tool. She also teaches virtual IT classes twice a week as part of BME United Doncaster.
Doncaster Community fighting back Fund Project
Yetunde had been teaching novice IT speakers who spoke very little English at Changing Lives and the Quaker House since January 2020. When the crisis hit, she was concerned about how they would cope with it, as well as the digitally excluded, self-isolating, and in some cases, elderly members of the community would function.
So, she wrote a proposal to receive a fund (the Doncaster Community Fighting Back fund) from the Doncaster Council. With the funding, she has collaborated on creating a 102-page Digital Guide that is ready to distribute to 200 individuals who need it and has secured 90 days free internet access for 10 households. She will also be hosting an additional 20 telephone and virtual IT training sessions to assist the Guide recipients (and the recipients of the devices in the DevicesDotNow project), help them make the most of their devices and become more digitally savvy during this time.
MechFS - Paul and Natalie Sutherland
Paul Sutherland (CEO) and his wife, Natalie (Director), set up MechFS over a decade ago. As soon as the Coronavirus pandemic began to take hold they wanted to help the local community and began to personally investigate how they could achieve this. When Paul and Natalie heard that the NHS staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) were struggling for meals onsite during their shifts, they reached out to Tom Bracha of Yellow Bus Catering and organised and funded the food truck to be located at DRI for three weeks to feed the staff.
Once Paul and Natalie had ensured that the food bus could be accommodated, they asked if any of the MechFS team would like to volunteer to assist with the project, alongside themselves. The Sutherlands received an overwhelming response, both from the NHS workers that are being fed, and from their employees who are really engaged in the project. The food truck now distributes over 500 meals a day and, as a result of this success, Paul and Natalie have organised for the food truck to attend Bassetlaw Hospital for a further week after the initial three weeks at DRI.
Polypipe has adapted in a range of ways to help in the local community and with efforts surrounding PPE and COVID 19.
They donated as much of their own PPE to the Doncaster South Primary Care Team as possible when lockdown first started and sourced more via social media.
They donated enough Polypropylene to create headbands for around 36,000 facemasks to Bradfield DT in Sheffield, and linking this work into to providing others in need too.
Additionally, they have laid down mould tools to enable manufacture of significant quantities of visors which are of a more robust design. The tooling for this was completed in just 2 weeks, normal time for a conventional steel mould tool is c. 12-14weeks. Examples have undergone an internal technical assessment and an application has been submitted for a fast track approval as a local NHS trust has stipulated this as a requirement. They plan to assemble identical product at Doncaster for supply to local recipients and their own workforce as necessary.
They have sourced 2000 plastic aprons, and helped Manna Community CIC deliver hot meals/food to vulnerable people in the DN5/DN6 postcodes by donating one of their vans and a member of staff to help deliver.
They have made a £5K donation to the Northern Powerhouse Partnership for an initiative to get laptops and broadbands for children who may not have access to them whilst they are working at home.
Finally, across Polypipe, products continue to be installed in the emergency hospitals that have been built around the UK, as well as some of the essential maintenance work that is going on within existing facilities. E.g. key sectors, such as food supply, utilities and infrastructure
Smith Craven - Payroll department
The level of customer service, commitment and dedication to clients that this company has demonstrated over recent weeks is exemplary and worthy of recognition: As a department, Smith Craven’s Payroll Bureau work tirelessly for approximately 450 businesses across the borough and beyond. These businesses have needed the expertise of this team during the current pandemic more than ever, as many have had to furlough staff in these difficult and challenging days.
The uncertainty faced by many of the businesses the Payroll Bureau engage with is far reaching. Collectively, the team has ensured their knowledge of government incentives and changing legislation is up to date, so that they can shield clients from the burden of having to manage these complex issues themselves.
The Payroll Team have answered huge numbers of calls relating to the Furlough scheme, providing assistance and guidance on the procedures each business needed to take to both calculate and submit a claim. This has been particularly challenging given the volumes of enquiries, coupled with the ever changing guidance and legislation. They have even assisted other businesses (who do not use them for their payroll activities) in the same way, with those organisations drawing on the expertise within the department at Smith Craven as trusted advisors.
At the same time the team had to devise a system for furlough payments to ensure they could accurately expedite grant claims, despite having no knowledge of what the HMRC furlough claim portal would look like, or what information would be needed to make a claim as it went live. Prompt input was pivotal both from an employee and employer perspective; employees needed wages but without government funding many businesses could not make these payments to their workforce, without significant consequences to the business in future days.
Partner Kelvin Fitton at Smith Craven is incredibly proud of the team and to work with such brilliant staff. A huge well done to all.
The Source Academy
The Source Academy has been proactive in ensuring the local community are able to up-skill or retrain during these difficult times. They have offered a broad menu of training courses to hundreds of residents, supporting people who have been made redundant, furloughed, those looking for work, and employers looking for ways to support and help their employees. This hard work in supporting communities and employers in South Yorkshire has been featured on BBC Radio Sheffield and Sheffield Live and they continue to look to adapt to the challenging times to provide ongoing training and support to the South Yorkshire Region.
St Leger Homes
St Leger Homes are currently redeploying many of their staff to support the community hub in a number of ways.
With many planned and scheduled capital works currently deferred, team members who would normally be working on those projects have been helping elsewhere. They have staff trained to pick and pack food, and have others delivering medicines and food parcels on behalf of the council’s hubs.
Finally they are making phone calls to those identified as vulnerable in the community when they need a voice and a lifeline most.
SYNETIQ, the largest salvage and dismantling company in the UK, are nominated for their continued support for the Skellow and Carcroft COVID-19 Support Group for the Elderly and Vulnerable since its inception.
The business has offered monetary assistance to enable the group to support both communities in Skellow and Carcroft with much needed essential supplies.
SYNETIQ also donated 80 Easter eggs - one for each of the group’s volunteers as a thank you. The Support Group in turn paid 65 of the eggs forward to Doncaster Royal Infirmary to thank them for their continued hard work. A real virtuous circle!
Thank you to our Doncaster Chamber Patrons for supporting the Business Heroes initiative.
Do you know a company worthy of being called a Business Hero? Nominate them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org