The University of Cumbria 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 with entrepreneur David Harrison. 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.
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 up British business to play its role.”
The initiative has already received the backing of employers representing over 600,000 staff and students and the University of Cumbria joins a wide range of businesses who have also signed the pledge.
Businesses on board 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. Tech giants Konica Minolta, Yorkshire-based Sewell Group and law firm Shoosmiths have also signed the pledge.
Other 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.
University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell said: “Like all universities across our sector, the University of Cumbria priorities are the health and well-being of our students and staff; supporting our students to continue and complete their studies and maintaining our role and impact across our region and further afield.
“Providing support and serving our business partners and communities through these challenging times is a key element of this and we are delighted to be a part of the C19 Business Pledge.
“Our portfolio focus, and student and staff make up enables us to do this on a significant scale, from the NHS and wider health and social care sector, emergency services, education, rural and visitor economy, business and industry. We are determined to continue to do all we can to provide immediate support to these sectors and to aid their longer-term resilience and recovery.”
For more information on the C-19 Business Pledge visit www.c19businesspledge.org