After nearly eleven weeks of living under lockdown, we have started to take our first tentative steps towards the new normal. The challenge for the country will be to stabilise and start to rebuild the economy, and for many of us, it will be to try to make sure we can balance the books personally and keep ourselves afloat.
Many of us have been fortunate to have Government support behind us easing slightly our immediate cashflow concerns. The furlough scheme has been a relief for so many, allowing staff to be retained and paid 80% of their salary, with many employers managing to top up the remaining 20%, eliminating financial worries in the short term. In the early days there was a mad dash to try and get onto the HMRC website to register employees for furlough. Thankfully now, the pressure has eased and applying for furlough is a relatively straightforward process. Speaking to one agency we work with they said, “Whilst we did not have to furlough our agency staff, we were glad that we could and we hope that this support will mean they can manage over the next few weeks until we can call on them to work again.”
Some, however, have not been so fortunate, for example those on zero hours contracts and who have found themselves with no income literally overnight. Unsurprisingly many employers found their cashflow seriously affected and sadly their employees suffered, some waiting up to two months for outstanding salaries to be paid. Worse still, some employers thought making redundancies would be an easier process than furloughing and those employees now find themselves with salaries outstanding and no job to return to.
This is where the Emergency Community Fund established by the JLC and administered by Work Avenue stepped in. The fund was set up specifically to support those whose earnings had been affected by COVID-19 and who faced a delay or were ineligible for Government support. To date, the fund has supported 150 families with over £250,000 being allocated to families right across the community and up and down the UK. It has supported individuals, families large and small and those suffering from more complex and additional issues.
An email from a grateful fund recipient said ““I truly have tears in my eyes with the wonderful generosity funding you have given me.” And another “You have no idea what a difference you’ve made to the quality of life for my family.”
The fund has also supported entrepreneurs, both the self employed and those running limited companies. One company director commented: “The grant you have given me has given me hope for my business for the future. You have ensured I can survive personally over the next few weeks, whilst your business advice meant that I have been able to receive a bounce back loan and begin to prepare my business to reopen soon. I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel before I contacted you, now I am hopeful for the future.”
The Emergency Community Fund closes on 30th June and finial initial applications need to be received by 14th June. For further information about the fund please visit https://theworkavenue.org.uk/covid19/ or call Work Avenue on 02083713280.
Beyond this initial period of immediate assistance, Work Avenue is here to support people restart and grow their businesses or re-enter employment. Contact us to find out how we can help you earn a living www.theworkavenue.org.uk.