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12th October 2020

UK Business Heroes in Wales

We are so proud to recognise Business Heroes across Wales.

The British Chambers of Commerce launched a campaign earlier this month to recognise the incredible work that UK businesses are doing, in the most challenging of years. We are pleased to say that we have nominated some fantastic Welsh businesses for their efforts.

We are paying tribute to these Welsh businesses and recognising their contributions by giving them a UK Business Heroes stamp which demonstrates that they have gone the extra mile to support their local community during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Below is a list of the amazing Business Heroes the South Wales Chamber of Commerce have nominated:

New Adventure Travel (NAT Group) are a bus and coach travel company that provide public transport, school coaches, holidays, and corporate coaches. Throughout lockdown they kept their buses moving to provide essential services to key workers. In total they moved 6,200 NHS staff free of charge, this was later funded by the Welsh Government but initially started by NAT Group at their own commercial risk. Travel routes were quickly modified to ensure that essential travel was uninterrupted; a 24/7 emergency contact system was set up to ensure that they could be reached in the event of any sudden requirement; and the business moved to become ‘cashless’ during the peak of lockdown to try and control the spread of the virus.

Dragons Rugby launched the ‘Dragons Deliver’ scheme during the Coronavirus pandemic in a bid to ensure the most vulnerable throughout Gwent were supported during the crisis. Dragons Deliver was spearheaded by the Community team. Throughout the pandemic, Dragons hosted a testing centre at Rodney Parade. The team delivered chocolate eggs to the children of key workers and those in need as well as protective plasters and other essentials to NHS workers. Even the first team players helped with food drops and made welfare calls to senior supporters.

MetroBank gives its colleagues a day off to volunteer in their local community, this extended to five days during the pandemic. They have waived overdraft fees and introduced mortgage payment holidays for those financially impacted by Coronavirus. They are using the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and have built a brand-new online lending platform especially for Bounce Back Loans. As of (5 August) they had extended over £1 billion of government-backed loans to more than 25,000 customers. They opened a new store in Cardiff during the pandemic that offers a drive-thru service, customers can carry out cashier services from the comfort and safety of their cars. This Newport Road store supported the elderly and vulnerable customers who needed banking facilities by dropping documents and chequebooks to customers’ residencies and found work arounds to be there for those who were unable to come to store. They also held a store fundraising for the local food bank to aid vulnerable families and scheduled a Secret Santa event where they will buy items to donate to local charities who provide toys for families badly financially affected by COVID-19.

NPTC Group of Colleges have helped the NHS by transforming Llandarcy Academy of Sport into a fully equipped 340-bed field hospital in just over three weeks. Staff made use of the kitchen on the Neath College site, to prepare food for NHS staff and patients. NPTC also provided a Coronavirus testing site at The Hafren Theatre which is open to the public until December. They have also adapted and changed the way they deliver training, upskilling and development to clients and customers. They are offering 78 brand new courses via e-learning during this period to support local businesses with varying training needs. Mental Health First Aid provision moved to online delivery with increased concerns on the health and wellbeing of people and staff. Over 700 students received vouchers towards meals in lieu of free school lunches.  Staff at Llandarcy and Neath provided deliveries of Sunday lunches locally.  College Librarian Jacinta Jolly provided a weekly book delivery in association with Powys Libraries Service.

InSynch are experts in digital marketing, websites, business consultancy, training and graphic design. Despite a third of their digital marketing retainers being wiped out within two weeks due to Covid-19, they did not furlough any staff and instead pivoted what they could offer to support other businesses in the shift to digital working. Over 900 remote meetings were held from April to September, over 200 one to one sessions delivered to businesses, 62 online training courses delivered from April to September and over 1100 businesses supported through April to September.

oomph are a customer experience agency. oomph pioneered research that would highlight how people and organisations were reacting to the pandemic. oomph recognised they could provide organisations with their own specific insights, but also gather all the data together at the end of the first wave and create meaningful transformation insights about the impact of COVID-19. It has broken many boundaries with a single multi-methodology platform delivering the impact of COVID-19 insights from a customer experience perspective. The study is being used by participating organisations from this first cycle for: policy and practice planning; transformation strategies; communications planning; and new product and service development.

Burns Pet Nutrition are a family-run business and have been producing natural pet food for dogs, cats, and rabbits since 1993. Burns Pet Nutrition give back 25% of their net profits (2018 audited figures) to the community each year and through COVID-19 have ensured that rescue centres and sanctuaries have enough food to feed the animals in their care. They have also funded several charitable projects to support young people and the elderly.

Transcend Packaging are an environmentally friendly company providing paper straws to Mc Donald’s, KFC and other large fast-food outlets to combat the use of single use plastic. During the Covid-19 Pandemic they quickly began diverting their factory staff to produce face shields for the NHS. To date they have: supplied 20 million face shields into the NHS; continued with the production of face shields alongside the production of straws; provided 3 versions of face shields; have invested in a research team for sustainable facemasks and; continue to invest and grow their workforce.

We will be shouting about our Welsh business heroes via our social media channels over the coming weeks. So keep an eye out and like, share and retweet to help us recognise these fantastic businesses.

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