How three business awards sponsors have adapted to the coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:41 23 June 2020

Elaine Bradford, Debbie Olver and Belinda Newton of HR Dept. Ref exe 06 20TI 7930. Picture: Terry Ife

Elaine Bradford, Debbie Olver and Belinda Newton of HR Dept. Ref exe 06 20TI 7930. Picture: Terry Ife


As excitement grows ahead of the first virtual Exmouth Business Awards, three sponsor businesses have revealed how they have adapted to the coronavirus crisis.

Exmouth Chamber of Commerce virtual business awards logoExmouth Chamber of Commerce virtual business awards logo

The annual business awards ceremony was set to take place at Ocean last month but had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Still wanting to celebrate the adaptability of businesses in Exmouth, the Chamber of Commerce has launched the virtual business awards which will take place via Zoom on Friday, July 17.

Ahead of the landmark occasion, sponsor businesses have told the Journal how they have adapted.

Staff at the HR Dept, based in Exeter, should have been celebrating its 10th anniversary with a ride on Stuart Lines Cruises but instead focused on helping clients through the pandemic.

The town council has adapted to life under Covid-19 restrictions. Steve Gazzard, town mayor and Roger Bourgein. Picture: John ThorogoodThe town council has adapted to life under Covid-19 restrictions. Steve Gazzard, town mayor and Roger Bourgein. Picture: John Thorogood

Belinda Newton, of HR Dept, said: “As a business revolving around ‘people’ we have been working hard to support our clients as they try and navigate the constantly revising Covid-19 Government announcements and changes to employment law; whilst trying to keep their teams safe, maintaining their employment and ultimately maintaining their businesses.

“We are often a sounding board for those who need to make challenging and difficult decisions.”

The HR Dept has put together a support package covering anything relating to the virus and have been involved in the chamber of commerce webinars, sharing information with other businesses on how to survive the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Newton added: “Our team are all working from home, but we really miss seeing our clients in East Devon in person and meeting up with our colleagues within the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce.

“We also miss Exmouth seafront.

“We are fortunate to have access to such beautiful surroundings in the south west which we will now appreciate even more.”

Everys solicitors has kept its office open during the lockdown and has continued under the Government’s legislation.

A spokesman for Everys said: “Many clients have taken this opportunity to write their wills and make powers of attorney and our private client team has been exceptionally busy dealing with these requests by telephone, email and post.

“The finished documents are either being signed by clients at their homes with them arranging their own witnesses or at our offices practising social distancing as required.

“Clients have been pleased with the measures we have taken to execute their wills with one client commenting on how we have ‘made the process easy, given the circumstances’.

“Our conveyancing teams have been working hard keeping transactions going during the lockdown and have seen a surge in business with the reopening of the estate agents’ offices.

“Clients have been delighted that we have been available throughout.”

The current Government advice on coronavirus has meant Exmouth Town Hall has been closed to the public since mid-March, but staff at the town council are still supporting residents while working from home.

A spokesman for the town council said: “Much of our focus has been on supporting the outstanding work currently being carried out by local volunteers, church groups, agencies and charities and promoting key messages from partners by using the council’s social media pages.

“Many councillors are also directly supporting local church and volunteer groups which are providing food delivery and collection services to communities around Exmouth and all councillors can still be contacted via the details on the town council’s website.”

To comply with the Government orders on gatherings, many town council meetings have been cancelled.

However, local authorities have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually which will allow the council to restart its meeting calendar ‘imminently’.

The council spokesman added: “It has been really heart-warming to see how community groups and individuals have come together to look out for each other during these unprecedented times.

“We hope that the virtual business awards will shine a light on local businesses which have also shown great tenacity and spirit by finding ways to support our residents during the pandemic.”

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