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‘Plan for worst, hope for the best’ – Council health chief

Importance of Communications

By Sally Palethorpe, managing partner of Inspired Partners

Effective and informative communications are proven to improve staff engagement which in turn improves productivity. During these challenging times it is even more important that staff, customers and other stakeholders are given useful information in a timely manner with regular and appropriate updates. The government have stepped

up their communications with daily briefings and question and answer sessions. But, what can we learn from these briefings: 1. You can never communicate too often as people’s thirst for knowledge is insatiable.

2. Allowing questions to be asked ensures that the communications are two-way.

3. Providing honest answers builds credibility even if you can’t fully address a question.

4. Different individuals bring different strengths to the communications.

As we move through these uncertain times we can learn from this experience and improve how we operate now and in the future; • Understanding the need to be flexible and change how messages are communicated to better fit fluid situations;

• Keeping in touch with people is vital to inform their choices and actions based on factual information rather than ‘fake news’;

• Small gestures are important, they are easy to do and can have a big impact on how someone feels about what is happening.

If everyone made one small gesture a day imagine the impact that would have, whether it’s making a phone call, sending a text message, or just saying thank you. As specialists in communications contact us to discuss how the Inspired Partners team can help you put this learning into practice.

Mobile: 07812 990545 Email:

12 CHAMBERLINK May 2020 By Jessica Brookes

Businesses were told to ‘plan for the worst, but hope for the best’ by Birmingham City Council’s public health director, at a Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) webinar. More than 100 people virtually

attended the Chamber’s first Quarterly Business Report briefing webinar, where Dr Justin Varney, director of public health at Birmingham City Council, provided an overview of how the city is battling Covid-19. Paul Faulkner, chief executive of

the Chambers, compered the event. Dr Varney discussed the amount

of cases in the city and when potential lockdown rules may be relaxed. He said: “I think an important

thing from a business perspective is to plan for the worst and hope for the best unfortunately. “I think if we get out earlier we

will all be relieved and happy, but I think it is much more pragmatic to work on the basis that it is unlikely that we will see significant relaxation of lockdown until well into the autumn.” Dr Varney also thanked

businesses for their efforts in battling the virus, and said that there have been some ‘spectacular

things’ being done by businesses in Birmingham to help local residents and the public sector, including donations of personal protective equipment and food bank donations. However, Dr Varney stressed the

need for businesses to continue efforts in producing personal protective equipment. He added: “I know there

are more businesses out there that want to help, if it is about personal protective equipment. “What I would say

at the moment is that we are doing quite well on goggles and visors, the challenge is more gowns and masks and gloves, and that challenge is going to continue for many weeks.” Alongside Dr Varney, senior

policy and patron adviser at the Chamber, Raj Kandola, discussed the results of the Chamber’s latest Quarterly Business Report survey, sponsored by Birmingham City University. According to the report, which

was complied before UK efforts ramped up to quell the spread of the virus, the region’s manufacturing and service sector firms saw their cash flow levels worsen in Q1, with 29 per cent of

companies revealing their cash flow had significantly weakened – the joint highest on record since the global financial crisis of 2008. Nicola Smith, partner at Squire

Patton Boggs, ended the webinar with tips for businesses on contingency planning. Ms Smith said: “The key is really to make sure that you have assessed what the critical activities are required for the delivery of your business objectives

and your key services and products and plan your contingency

arrangements around the

resources that you are going to need to deliver those critical activities. “I would stress that all of the planning should with the goal in mind of business recovery within a defined time scale that you have identified in advance as realistic.” To find out more about how your

business can help supply personal protective equipment, email with your company details.

To read the full QBR report, visit www.greaterbirminghamchambers .com/research-campaigning/ quarterly-business-report/

‘Sweaty selfies’ raise NHS funds

Fitness apparel brand Gymshark has been encouraging the people of Birmingham to ‘sweat for the NHS’ in a bid to raise £175,000 for Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The Solihull-headquartered firm, a patron of the

Future Faces Chamber of Commerce, launched a fundraising drive in which people were encouraged to upload a ‘sweaty selfie’ to social media. For every selfie uploaded using the hashtag

#NHSSweatySelfie, Gymshark have been donating £5 to Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital Charity. Participants were also given the opportunity to voluntarily match the donation via a JustGiving page. Gymshark founder Ben Francis said: “Having

watched my mom work as a nurse at the QE in Birmingham all of my life, I know first-hand how incredibly hardworking they are. “This is a global situation, that’s well and truly

being felt here in the West Midlands. We want to play our part in supporting the NHS by donating what we can to the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity.” Louise McCathie, director of fundraising at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Our staff are working tirelessly to keep our patients safe and the money Gymshark are donating will ensure we can continue to support them.”

Meanwhile, Gymshark has the fastest growing

profits among private companies in Britain, according to the ‘Sunday Times’ Profit Track. The firm recorded an increase of 156.20 per cent

in profits in the year ended July, 2019. Profits have rocketed from £1.1m in 2016 to £18.6m

in 2019.

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