PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS HEROES
THOSE WHO HAVE RISEN TO THE CHALLENGE
In April we launched our search for Black Country Business Heroes, those people, places, products and companies going the extra mile to help with the Coronavirus crisis.
The region and the country pulled together to help supply PPE for the NHS and care system, packed and distributed food and essentials for the most vulnerable, and worked together to try and make lives better for the many people struggling and suffering with the crisis.
Here at the Black Country Chamber we heard, and shared, some of the most amazing, touching and heroic stories from Black Country businesses.
As we enter the next phase and move forward to rebuild the economy, with employers looking ahead and employees returning to their offices, factory floors and retail premises, we still want to hear from you.
We are seeing lots of companies, people and brands doing amazing things. Pivoting, diversifying, taking tough decisions, expanding, learning new skills, developing new initiatives.
We want to hear your stories – tell us how your business has survived, how you are returning to work, tell us about the unique leaders - your unsung business heroes that have kept the wheels turning on the business and how they are rebuilding and bouncing back. We want to continue to celebrate the contribution these people and organisations make to the wellbeing of the Black Country economy.
Get in touch and tell us about your Black Country Heroes - email us at
Owning and managing around 21,000 properties across the Midlands, WHG provide affordable, good quality homes and community-based services to the region. Many of their people have gone above and beyond during recent months to help during the pandemic.
WHG Gas Engineer Darren Cook really has gone “the extra mile” during lockdown, clocking up hundreds of miles to deliver in excess of 5000 food parcels to some of Walsall’s most vulnerable households.
Darren, who has continued to carry out emergency repairs and gas servicing as part of WHG’s asset management team, gave up his spare time to support the community hubs which were set up by Walsall Council to coordinate the borough’s response to the pandemic.
Darren has embraced his role as a volunteer and really enjoyed his new temporary vocation, working tirelessly to provide support to people in need.
He quickly gained a rapport with local charities and supported the development of critical food hubs and co-ordinated a small of team of delivery drivers to ensure vulnerable residents received essential supplies and prescriptions.
His enthusiasm and tenacity have seen him negotiate with local companies for free food and supplies, even securing two electrical cool boxes from one retailer to help transport fresh meat in the delivery vans.
Health & Wellbeing Team, Employment and Skills Teams and Tenancy Services Teams
When lockdown began WHG’s Tenancy Services and Health & Wellbeing Teams set themselves the mammoth task of ringing all 4,000 customers over the age of 70 to check on their welfare and offer support. They gave themselves just five days to complete this mammoth task.
The initiative proved so successful it was extended to other vulnerable households. To date, 7305 customers have been contacted with 1967 receiving befriending calls and 552 referred to the community hubs.
The service has provided an invaluable lifeline to some of the borough’s most vulnerable households at this time.
Money Advice Service
WHG’s Money Advice Service have worked extremely hard in supporting an unprecedented number of customers experiencing severe financial hardship due to the coronavirus.
Since lockdown began the team of nine have supported over 500 customers to access an additional £801,190, reduced rent arrears to a value of £17,242 and household debt of £24,553.
The team have been passionate about supporting households affected financially by lockdown, providing crisis support such as food bank referrals and welfare and debt advice.
This has ensured households can continue to meet the costs of running their homes and providing for families during this difficult time.
ZAUN AND GMS DONATE 3000 FACE SHIELDS TO THE NHS
During the height of the pandemic Zaun Fencing delivered 3000 face shields to the NHS’s Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group.
Pleased to be able to make this small contribution to help the NHS as they fight to help those affected by COVID-19, the masks were the second batch of many produced by local business Thomas Dudley Ltd, a shining example of local SMEs answering the nation’s call for help.