Coronavirus: useful resources + support

Collated resources and support to help you survive and thrive during this time. You’ll find support for employees, employers, freelancers and small businesses but also plenty of other topics to look after your wellbeing, lift your spirits and keep you smiling.

Why the key to small business resilience is skill sharing

by Selsabil Amine

We all want to know how to survive and thrive in the ‘new normal’ created by COVID-19, so welcome to the first in a series of articles on business resilience. Through our upcoming posts, you’ll learn what the practical side of business resilience looks like as well as opportunities to develop business resilience with Echo.

The Match started off as an experiment and ended up providing an eye-opening insight into the ‘new world’ that small businesses and organisations must now operate in.

Set up by a team at Echo – a skills sharing platform transforming the face of volunteering as we know it – the idea was to connect furloughed professionals with the businesses that need their skills to get through the difficulties presented by the pandemic.

Historically, we know that small businesses and organisations tend to ‘muddle through’ economic, environmental, and social disasters. But ‘muddling through’ isn’t going to cut it during an economic downfall caused by a global pandemic.

Sure enough, small businesses, charities, freelancers, and collectives got in touch with The Match. Their most pressing needs were overwhelmingly clear: how do I adapt my business to a suddenly remote world; and how do I get the funding to do that? In short – how do I now become a resilient business?

The term ‘business resilience’ was once a buzzword for an organisation’s ability to ‘bounce back’. But today, and for the foreseeable future, answering the question of how to ‘bounce back’ is paramount. Having a crisis response plan is often associated with big-budget companies armed with in-house teams who have a variety of options of how they put out fires.

The sad truth, however, is that small businesses and organisations tend to firefight during crises with limited internal expertise and little to no guidance from a pre-prepared plan. While many businesses furloughed staff in order to stay afloat, small businesses and organisations have to find a way better than ‘muddling through’.

The Match fills this skills gap and successfully connects furloughed professionals in marketing, fundraising, and business strategy with the small businesses and organisations who need them.

Benefiting from tailored advice, various organisations have received insight into how to take the next steps forward into this new world. From advice on how to approach a new customer base to writing funding applications, filling this skills gap is the key to sustaining opportunities in small business resilience.

However, while more and more furloughed professionals go back to work, small businesses still need those crucial one-to-one chats. Volunteers skilled in areas like marketing, fundraising strategy, and social media management are still needed.

Even from 1 hour, professional volunteers can directly impact a small business by sharing their skills through The Match. Sign up as a professional volunteer, and be part of leading small businesses and organisations. ‘Muddling through’ just won’t work. 

This article was written by Selsabil Amine, an MSc student at Loughborough University London. Selsabil is currently a communications volunteer with The Match and is researching crisis communications in the political world. She is passionate about public relations and enjoys learning how effective communication strategies are created and received. 

Meet The Match!

by Sarah Henderson

Are you furloughed and would like to volunteer your time? Or are you a small business or voluntary sector organisation looking for support? The Match might be just what you’re looking for. 

The Match connects skilled professionals who are furloughed from their jobs with small businesses and charities for strategic and practical business support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme is powered by Echo, and was initiated by Echo, Loughborough University London and Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone, and aims to support the vibrant local ecosystem of small creative businesses, self-employed creatives, charities and community groups that make this part of East London distinctive.

Since we launched The Match in mid-May, we’ve had offers of help and expertise in areas including fundraising, legal advice, videography, social media, branding, copywriting and lots more. 

If you’re currently furloughed and would like to volunteer your time, or if you’re a small business or VSO looking for support, you can sign up for free at

Funding available for businesses and organisations

by Sarah Henderson

We’ve collated sources of funding available for businesses and organisations:

Funding for businesses

  • You can find the latest government grants and loans available here
  • On 2nd May, the government announced a top up to their business grant fund scheme, expanding eligibility to businesses based within coworking spaces – details here
  • Resilience and recovery loan fund – for businesses with a minimum turnover of £400k
  • The Pay It Forward Scheme by London growth hub helps businesses stay afloat by pre-selling services

The London Growth Hub have loads of useful info and guidance on how to access government support.

Funding for arts, culture and voluntary sector organisations

Grants Online has been updating a pretty comprehensive list of funds available here.

We recommend this free tool by Blackburn and Darwen Council for searching for local funding you might be eligible – it’s not in our local area, but the tool works to search grants across the UK.

We also have a number of volunteers offering 1:1 fundraising support via The Match.

Other sources of support for small businesses and freelancers

by Sarah Henderson
  • Crowdfunder have removed all fees for setting up campaigns on their platform 
  • Charlie HR have put together some v useful guidance for anyone who employs others who needs to understand sick pay obligations and how to manage and support your team during this time.
  • Tutti have created a fantastic resource with ideas for freelancers who need to diversify their work and find new sources of income
  • Echo members Enrol Yourself have created this fantastic guide which supports people to support each other to set goals, stay accountable, and get shit done.
  •  If you are a food retailer with urgent surplus food, please contact Olio and they will pick it up and get it to vulnerable people who would benefit.