April 6 coronavirus update for businesses

Lancashire Business View's daily coronavirus updates are brought to you with the support of Boost, Lancashire's growth hub, and its #AskForHelp service. You're not alone in this. 

Community Clothing produces scrubs for the NHS

Blackburn-based Community Clothing is using its facilities to produce 2,500 pairs of scrubs for the NHS, setting up facilities in just three days.

The process, from receiving technical specifications, delivery of bulk fabric, and inspection and approval by the NHS supplier, began at 10 Tuesday and the first 700 pairs were complete by 4pm Friday.

Company founder Patrick Grant said: "I am incredibly proud of all the staff involved in what has been a monumental effort: Three days for a process that would normally take about three months, and all achieved under incredibly strict new working practices, at a great time of personal anxiety to many. 

"This crisis is terrible, but if any good comes of it perhaps it might be that it brings home to us, in a way that perhaps nothing else could have, that people who know how to make things are of vital importance, that they deserve our absolute respect, and they deserve to be valued."

CoreRFID helps in construction of new hospitals

Skelmersdale-based software specialist CoreRFID is helping a firm constructing temporary hospitals track vital equipment. The firm's RFID tags and readers to enable construction workers locate the large number of items used to build and fit out new medical facilities.

The tags, which are attached to the items, can be read by scanners from up to two meters away and without needing a line of site to the assets. The items' locations and description are then automatically uploaded to the contractors' database, which enables fast stock checks to ensure kit is in the right place when it's needed.

Technical director Munzi Ali said: "Our staff are working remotely but everyone readily volunteered to come to the distribution centre to ensure the equipment got to the NHS and the care homes as fast as possible. We've had unprecedented demand in the past month across the UK from councils, care homes and contractors and while every request is and will be fulfilled quickly, we naturally looking forward to the situation returning to normal."

Reach to build free online shops for food suppliers

Preston-based design firm Reach is offering to build online shops, for free, for Lancashire businesses to help them maintain contact with their customers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ashley Wright said: "Many of us feel scared and completely helpless, in most cases the only thing we can do to help is 'Stay At Home'. Being Lancashire lads with a Lancashire based web design business, we thought of a way we can help the Lancashire food suppliers. 

"As the government closed all bars, restaurants and cafe’s, the food suppliers lost their clients over night. Many have started to supply to the residential market instead, but none of them had systems in place to sell to the local customer. We’re offering to build them an online shop for free."

The online shop can be online and trading in as little as 24 hours and will also be featured in Reach's directory of Lancashire foods suppliers.

Harrison Drury helps firms access emergency loans

Harrison Drury has established up a dedicated team to help businesses secure emergency loans quicker during the coronavirus crisis. The firm rapid response team has been created following reports that some businesses have been unable to access loans from the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) scheme quickly enough.

Harrison Drury says it can help businesses get their hands on the emergency loans faster, delivering advice on the loan agreement and completing any necessary documentation in a matter of days. The firm’s working capabilities have been unaffected by the lockdown due to its investment in a cloud-based IT network which allows its team to work remotely.

John Chesworth, executive chairman of Harrison Drury, said: "We already have strong relationships with the banks and the other funders approved to provide loans under CBILS and other channels. We can help businesses streamline the legal formalities associated with the loan process, allowing the work to be completed in a matter of days, even when there are property charges to secure, where banks are willing to accept ‘no search’ insurance which speeds up the process."

Farnworth Rose creates wills 'at a distance' service

Farnworth Rose Solicitors of Nelson has launched a new service which allows Wills to be correctly executed at a distance during the Coronavirus.

The Clear View service involves the testator signing the Will in eyesight of two witnesses through a window. The two witnesses remain two meters apart from each other outside of the home at all times. The Will is passed back to the witnesses who then sign using their own pens wearing disposable gloves.

Solicitor Amanda Coates said: "We have already seen a significant increase in the demand for wills, inheritance tax planning and Lasting Powers of Attorney over the last three weeks, however there have been challenges to ensure we remain compliant and all Wills are valid whilst still following social distancing rules."

Prince's Trust makes £5m available for young businesses

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have announced the launch of a £5m fund to help young entrepreneurs across Lancashire and the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support. Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers. In conjunction with these grants, the initiative will also offer one-to-one support and guidance to applicants who need it.