The Furniture Makers’ Company is encouraging anyone who has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to get in touch to see if they qualify for a Personal Support Grant, writes the charity's CEO, Jonny Westbrooke.

You may not need the charity’s support right now, but you or the company you work at may be able to help the organisation reach even more people in the industry by putting some of the following guidance into practice.

Hang a poster or augment your extranet

This is the simplest way you can make your co-workers aware of our charitable support. We have posters that can be affixed to notice boards, hung up in the cafeteria or even pinned in bathrooms and toilet cubicles. Many companies have also created a dedicated section on their extranet or Sharepoint where employees can learn about the charity, read case studies and download materials (including the application form). 

Spread the word on social media

Sending the message directly to your co-workers greatly increases the chance they will absorb it. What has proven to be successful is when someone shares a link to information about our Personal Support Grants in a staff WhatsApp or Facebook group.

Don’t be afraid to recommend us

Welfare is a tough subject to talk about, and the only way we are going to change that is by addressing it head-on. If one of your co-workers or contacts from the trade has been made redundant, why not drop them a line to see how they are getting on, and mention us in the conversation?

Neutralise the stigma

We British are a proud folk. We are known worldwide for our stiff upper lips and Dunkirk spirit. With that stoicism, though, comes a reluctance to show weakness or ask for help. Even in these difficult times, many feel ashamed to do so – but we need to break that barrier. None of us know when we may need help, and by affirming to others that, actually, it is okay to ask for a leg up, it may be the small push they need to pick up the phone and apply for a grant.

Remember us if there are redundancies

Redundancy is never a pleasant subject to discuss, but sadly there will be some companies that have no choice but to make cutbacks over the next few months. We hope as few people are affected as possible, but if any of your co-workers are made redundant, please make sure you remember us and remind them to get in touch. Every enquiry is handled in the strictest of confidence. 

Let us know if someone goes out of business

It is always tragic when a company goes bust because of the impact it has on all the people working at the firm. If a company that you have dealings with goes out of business, please take five minutes out of your day and let us know. Our welfare officer can then get on the case of contacting either the insolvency practitioner or someone from the HR department to explore how we reach the affected employees. You may even be able to put us in touch with your closest contact at the business, who can help us access others in the company.

Share our content

We regularly post information about our Personal Support Grants on social media, but our reach can only get us so far. You can help get more eyeballs on our messages by liking, sharing and retweeting what we post. 

Sign up to our One Step at a Time campaign

Many a time have we heard people say, “I can’t believe I’m only finding out about you now,” Well, we’re on a mission to make sure we never hear those words again, and we’re doing that through our One Step at a Time campaign. 

One Step at a Time was launched last year to encourage companies to commit to communicating the support we provide to their employees. If you sign up as a One Step Champion, we will send you posters, help cards and digital collateral to display and share at your workplace. So please, sign up, or ask your HR manager to register for this free campaign – one day, it may make a huge difference to the life of someone you work with.