Unless you have been living on the moon or, like Jared Leto, have been attending a no technology meditation retreat for the last few weeks, you will not have failed to notice the general sense of anxiety and panic that has quickly gripped society due to the Covid-19 Virus.
We have all no doubt felt the effect of this global disaster personally. We hope you have all managed to stay safe and healthy during this time.
However, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to not be caught up, in these unprecedented times, with feelings of panic and uncertainty. Especially when it is brought to our own homes and lives; with empty supermarket shelves, school closures, workplaces shutting down, social distancing being put into effect and now and an effective lockdown.
Whilst we are all too aware of the health implications of this of this current crisis, many of us were caught totally unawares by the economic ones; with most non-essential personnel working from home or even not working at all.
What does this current crisis mean, and how does it affect us as a social enterprise?
Where we differ from traditional business models is that alongside our business goals, we have social goals: to maximise the social improvements in financial, social, mental and environmental well-being of our staff and partner participants.
Quite simply work is our therapy, with all the added support and benefits it brings: paid work hours, well-being activities and social inclusivity
Many of us have returned to work and society after complete disengagement for many years due to a host of complex and challenging circumstances.
With our work being a vital component for our mental health and recovery, this is a very troubling time for us all.
We have had to take some sensible precautions and impose some restrictions on how we operate as a whole.
With many of our at-risk people having to self-isolate, we have had to drastically reduce hours because of the reduced operational capability working from home.
Printed by us generates revenue from four main areas;
Operating stalls periodically; you will find us around Sheffield and sometimes further afield.
Selling our full range of our merchandise in partnership with our wonderful stockists dotted throughout the City
Delivering custom-printing jobs for a range of businesses - t-shirts, tote bags, sweaters and mugs.
Generating revenue from online orders through our website printedbyus.org/shop, with yours truly picking and processing orders with free first class delivery to our valued customers.
With Covid-19 forcing all non-essential businesses to close their shutters and people unwilling or unable to spend money in such uncertain financial times this in itself would present a challenge
However, coupled with the health concerns of people unwilling to accept deliveries or parcels and our custom printing enquiries being non-existent we will struggle to stay afloat without our valued customers who can afford to, continuing to buy our products.
We as an entity and a team will be doing all we can to remain operational, initially focusing on our marketing operations until we were confident that we could deliver parcels without risk to our staff and those receiving them. We’re no posting out every Wednesday afternoon. Our postman drives to work, the office is empty, we’re ensuring that there’s plenty of hand sanitiser on hand before and after handling the products and packaging. It’s then onto Royal Mail where we are able to use their “Drop and Go” service which minimises the interaction. No cash is exchanged or card swiped as our account is set to auto top up. We’ve reviewed Royal Mail’s own response to this crisis and are confident that they are also doing what they can to minimise the risk.
Please do still buy our products during this time as we depend on the continual income to keep our heads above water so to speak.
Our shop can be found at www.printedbyus.org/shop
Some of our staff are also preparing to cover the shifts of our more vulnerable members to maintain some of our vital key worker cleaning contracts we deliver as part of the broader Just Works family, such as our cleaning service for our parent homeless charity, the Cathedral Archer project.
The charity has been hit hard with a massive reduction in their own staff due to the need for many to self-isolate which has reduced their service capacity.
The centre is currently one of the only spaces of support for vulnerable adults still open in Sheffield city centre.
Opening times initially had to be reduced to three and a half hours a day, with service delivery strictly only for rough sleepers and those not in receipt of or eligible for benefits (e.g asylum seekers).
They reduced the use of space to thirty people at one time, to permit implementation of the required social distancing measures.
Subsequently, the project then reverted to a takeaway service for the remaining rough sleepers in the city as the council took steps to accommodate the majority.
We are now playing a lead role in a multi-agency effort to feed the homeless and vulnerably housed in the city, preparing over a hundred hot meals a day, which are then distributed to supported housing providers in the city.
With people being encouraged to remain at home and the need for many others to self-isolate, fundraising events have been cancelled so they’ve seen a sharp decline in the donations upon which they depend to feed and clothe the people you use the project.
As a charity that depends upon donated income for a significant proportion of its budget, any help that individuals are able to give to their coronavirus fundraiser would be greatly appreciated
These are uncertain times for us all and the word unprecedented is being bandied around a lot.
Things are uncertain and things are certainly unprecedented.
It is only in coming together as a species and a society that we can bounce back from this disaster.
Local small businesses and charities need your help.
So, shop local where possible and even in these times of looking out for ourselves and panic buying, try to shop responsibly and to give back to our most vulnerable.
After all they are the most at risk in this pandemic.
From our printed by us family to yours, we thank you for all your continued support.
We hope you all remain healthy and well and we look forward to seeing you all on the other side. ️
Chris and the Printed By us Team