With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting almost every business across Scotland and the wider world, it is great to see some businesses are actually thriving, pivoting and trying their very best to support their employees and the wider public during this difficult time.
We wanted to share the stories of a number of local businesses across the North East of Scotland. Macbeths Butchers, Little Rowater, GSL Cuts UK, Punx Designs, Banff Care Home and Friends of Anchor. KEEPING THE NATION FED
Many food suppliers across Scotland are seeing an increase in sales both online and locally due to less footfall in the supermarkets. One of the businesses’s seeing an increase in demand for their products is Macbeth’s Butchers. MacBeth’s Butchers
Macbeth’s Butchers is a family run business that provides high quality meat products throughout the UK. In the main, the beef is provided from their own farm, Edinvale, in upland Moray. A recent post on social media stated the business saw a ten-fold increase in mail order and local deliveries since the lockdown began. The past few months have also led Macbeth’s Butchers to collaborate with other businesses, adding a new “Dine In” section to their website and offering some amazing dine in delicious dinners from the Cluny Bank Hotel, Forres and One One Two on the Brae in Nairn.
We recently had the opportunity to speak to Jock Gibson, Manager at Macbeth’s Butchers and a few key ‘take aways’ were:
> That supply to the food service sector accounted for around 80% of their trade at this time of the year. And due to the hospitality sectors and global challenges the business has seen a dramatic increase in local and national deliveries to private households.
> It’s not just online, retail sales are also going strong. Jock mentioned that the workload has increased where they are doing around what was considered “a months’ worth of work” every week. The retail shop is still open and customers and essential shoppers can still pick up deliveries one at a time. The team needs all the free and safe work space they can get so the shop is being used as a work space as well. Jock stated a lot of new customers of butchers across the UK are realising they are getting a better service and quality from their local supplier – and he hopes that people stick with butchers and similar small businesses where there is a much better handle on where the food is coming from.
Little Rowater is a growing family farm, passionate about providing locally farmed produce. The farm and farm shop can be found at a captivating location at the bottom of the Knock Hill near the village of Cornhill. Spending the last 5 years achieved their goals to improve the farm and working hard to expand and nurture their farm stock, raising a growing herd of red deer, Belted Galloway cattle, ostriches, emus, and award-winning sheep.
The family started selling their range of premium venison, beef, lamb, and ostrich eggs on November 18th, 2019.
In response to the current lockdown and increasing interest in their produce locally the Little Rowater team have started carting out free deliveries within a 15 mile radius offering various freezer packs of their meat to help those isolating at home. The team have also implemented additional health measures in the shop having hand sanitisers available for use and limiting the number of customers to one at a time when collecting orders.
We reached out to Isla at Little Rowater to ask her about how the business has been affected by the current lockdown. One of the things she mentioned was that the farm was seeing several new customers however several pre-existing customers we not able to make it out to them due to people not travelling as much.
“This year was really our year to push forward and try to get our produce out to more local people. We are very passionate about producing it locally and consuming it locally. We have had to think how to reach our customers best so, deliveries, meat packs and our shop is open to one customer at a time” – Isla French
Isla also spoke about how Little Rowater was still a growing business and have relied on going to events and markets to create awareness and sell produce in the past, this has had to change and their marketing efforts redirected digitally. A lack of childcare support with 3 young children on the farm brings its own challenges; however, they are blessed to have a big open beautiful space to live and work in.
DIVERSIFICATION TO SUPPORT THE NHS
While many business are accessing tech to adapt and support the business, many businesses across the globe are using diversification methods and launching initiatives to help ease the pressures on many in the wider community. With many UK distilleries making hand sanitisers and fashion brands creating PPE for front line staff, it’s safe to say that businesses have taken these challenging times into their own hands.
Punx Designs & GSL Cuts UK facebook.com/pg/punxdesignsltd
2 individuals highlighted in our business shout out post a few weeks back were Tony Fullwood of Punx Designs and Angela from GSL Cuts UK. These two laser cutting & design businesses based in Turriff and Portsoy have came together to make face shields for key workers across Scotland.
GSL Cuts offer laser cut chipboard shapes and mini albums in many styles. I reached out to Angela who said “Our business would normally be making greyboard embellishments for paper crafters and selling through our website (https://gslcutsuk.com/)” “When I heard that Tony Fullwood of Punx Designs in Turriff was making face shields I immediately contacted him to ask if we could get the file so we could help.” As of May 10th 2020 the two businesses have hit around the 3000 shields supplied. They have also raised over £2000 on this crowdfunder Face Shields for Key Workers https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/face-shields-for-key-workers which allows them to buy the materials to make the shields and pay for the postage to send them to our Amazing Keyworkers! The two businesses are overwhelmed by all the support from the public, businesses and local organisations that have so kindly donated to the crowdfunder. If you are in need of face shields then get in touch with them today.
LOOKING AFTER OUR MOST VULNERABLE "Today we’ve launched the ‘Care for Others Make A Difference’ campaign, celebrating the care workers continuing to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society” April 24th 2020 from the Department of Health and Social Care As many businesses move to home working many of our frontline staff who can’t are going the extra mile to improve the lives of others.
Banff Care Home
Banff Care Home is a 56 residential nursing home for in-home aged and disability care clients.
Due to Covid-19 the care home cannot allow visitors to the care home for visits. This has led the team to start a Facebook page: facebook.com/Banff-Care-Home-106621384140925/ Which allows family and friends of those in care to keep up to date with activities, news and posts from the staff and residents within the care home.
Karren Cryle the care home Manager has shown great leadership in encouraging and ensuring her 140 staff to take on additional health protocols, ensuring all care clients are supplied with sufficient necessities and allowing her team to bring some joy to those who cannot visit the care home currently.
When asked for comment Karren said “I’m amazed how the local community comes together in times like this. The care home has received many donations of PPE, food and are continuously overwhelmed with all of the nice messages and support from everyone”.
Friends of ANCHOR www.friendsofanchor.org
Friends of ANCHOR has served oncology and haematology patients throughout the Northeast of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland, since the ANCHOR Unit opened in 1997. The charity is held in very high regards by the team at Optimul as we continue to support this amazing charity.
Over the last few months, we have seen several changes for the Cancer support charity as they refuse to let coronavirus stifle their support and creativity.
Sunshine Post for Patients: Recently launching a new Initiative “Sunshine Post” for patients. With friends and family not being able to visit some patients; Friends of Anchor are encouraging others to create letters, cards and paintings or anything that will brighten the lives of those who are not able to have visitors at this time.
Patient Community: Friends of ANCHOR created a new online support network for patients going through treatment across the Northeast of Scotland. This private group is for cancer and haematology patients to connect with one another, creating a safe and secure community for patients walking a similar path, to know they are not walking it alone.
The team want you to start the week the right way with a virtual coffee morning. Members of the group will have access to their fully funded, accredited mindfulness course, kindness calls and a weekly Friday entertainment slot with everything from cooking demos to live music to kickstart your weekend.
If you are a patient and would like to join the community, search 'Friends of ANCHOR Patient Community' on Facebook.
Virtual Catwalk: Friends of Anchor hosts an annual Courage on the Catwalk and Brave fashion event @ the Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom. Which since 2013 has raised more than £1million to support cancer patients throughout the Northeast. Courage on the Catwalk and Brave is so much more than a fashion show. The event celebrates the sheer tenacity of men and women who have faced a cancer diagnosis- both past and present. Due to the world’s on-going covid-19 pandemic the charity has been forced to mark the occasion digitally. Check out some of the virtual catwalk debuts on their Facebook facebook.com/pg/FriendsofANCHOR.
It is important to note that Courage and Brave generate their highest fundraising for the year, and postponing these events has impacted the charities income. If you would like to support Friends of ANCHOR, then you can make a donation through their online page here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/FriendsofANCHOR or Text BRAVE to 70085 or COURAGE to 70085.
We at Optimul want to say well done and a BIG thank you for all your hard work not only to the business’s above, but everyone who is supporting and evolving and ensuring yourself and others stay safe. This has been Blog No.4! To keep up to date with our latest news and blogs visit www.optimul.co.uk and follow us on facebook & linkedin.