Covid-19 and support for social enterprise

[first published 16/03/2020, updated 16/04/2020]

Social enterprises and community businesses work with some of the most vulnerable people and with some of the most deprived communities who are also be among those worst affected by the spread of the coronavirus. Many of the social enterprises with whom we work are frontline responders operating in the fields of health and social care and face particular challenges of continuity and capacity as events unfold. Others work in sectors such as sports, food, transport and leisure, whose economies are directly impacted. We are committed, as a partnership, to deliver the best possible response to these challenging circumstances including support for an effective response by the social enterprise sector as a whole in Sheffield City Region.

Among the objectives which we share are:

1. Protection of those most vulnerable
2. Reduction in the spread of the virus
3. Keeping the social economy going

What are we doing?

The Social Enterprise Exchange partners are putting practical measures in place to help reduce the health risks for individuals and the business and organisational risks for social enterprises and others with whom we engage. These measures include:

– monitoring developments and consulting with public officials, health professionals and other specialists
– ensuring our staff and associates are informed and act on the latest professional medical advice
– adjusting our own working practices to reduce the risk of spreading the virus
– undertaking continuity planning and scenario analysis for the continued delivery of the SEE support programme
– working with our network of social enterprises and social entrepeneurs to gather information on their status, and to provide relevant support
– assisting to mobilise additional capacity for those social enterprises working in frontline response
– advocating for the inclusion of social enterprise in plans for support to business and charities and in local and regional response planning
– moving our grants scheme to a rolling basis and prioritising support for frontline responders and social enterprise resilience

What other social enterprises can do?

– ensure staff are informed and acting on the latest professional medical advice
– adjust working practices to reduce the risk of spreading the virus
– undertake business continuity planning and implement appropriate mitigation strategies
– offer staff, volunteer and practical support to those working on frontline response
– keep us informed so that we can better understanding the nature of challenges faced

To assist us in understand the impact on social enterprise in Sheffield City Region please complete the following short online survey.


Further resources

Department for Business/Public Health England – COVID-19: guidance for employers

Department for Business/Public Health England – COVID-19: support for businesses

The Charity Commission – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for the charity sector

Public Health England – Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for health professionals and other organisations

Public Health England – COVID-19: residential care, supported living and home care guidance

Department of Education / Public Health England – COVID-19: guidance for educational settings

NHS – Advice on Covid 19

NCVO – Your Organisation and Coronavirus

Cooperatives UK – Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Social Enterprise UK – Coronavirus support and resources

Westfield Health – Employer Guide: Preparing for COVID-19

Zurich – Organisational Resilience – Guidance on Pandemic Planning