In June Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to celebrate and recognise the unsung business heroes across Lincolnshire.

A separate recognition category was added, working in partnership with TED East Lindsey, to identify those businesses who have adapted to offering additional support for those over 50s.  

After receiving an overwhelming number of nominations for businesses of all kinds across Lincolnshire that have gone that extra mile during the current crisis, the Chamber is delighted to recognise a number of those business heroes in this feature story.

A stand-out business, receiving 59 individual nominations was Skegness-based gym, Phoenix Fitness.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Phoenix Fitness found new ways of adapting their offering following the Government guidance to close gyms, they took their services to the great outdoors, as well as online workouts, advice and support, not just for its members but for the wider community as well.

Deserving of the recognition, a client of the gym said: “They encourage and inspire so many people in this town, they have changed the lives of so many and continue to do so. Their support for locals is phenomenal.”

Our next unsung business hero is Chester and George, an upcycle furniture store in Alford, and following the closure of non-essential retail, the owner Lynette Pryke wanted to find a way to keep people connected and support the vulnerable in a practical way.

In the critical, most vulnerable shielding group herself, Lynnette started The Alford Hub, saying: “I knew that people would need support and so I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, which is why I launched the Hub.”

The Alford Hub was launched as a COVID-19 Information Group on Facebook to support each other and the local community.

“I put together a team of admins who answered questions, this was so important in early days, people just didn’t know who to turn to” explained Lynette.

“It was our commitment to keep people engaged, so we ensure that every comment was replied to, we have had 27,000 comments in the 18 weeks with around 1,400 members. I am so proud of the hub and for putting together an amazing team of volunteers who were passionate about protecting the community as I am” added Lynette.

As well as the Alford Hub, Lynette Pryke launched a free online newspaper, a be-friending service and a local prescription delivery service.

Recognising the part animals play in providing comfort in times of crisis, particularly to those shielding, our next unsung hero is Sutton Pet Supplies.

Sutton Pet Supplies based in Sutton on Sea remained open throughout the lockdown period, doing deliveries, assisting with the local food bank collection.

Owners, Malcolm and Paul are so pleased with their nomination said: “We are so chuffed because our customers have taken the time out to nominate us which is really special.

“Coronavirus has been a real challenge for all businesses, our location is in a tourist area and has seen a huge downturn in footfall, this however enabled us to help many of our regular customers by offering an expanded delivery service to people self-isolating.  

“We pride ourselves on great customer service and really enjoy customer interaction and I believer this is a reason customers want to shop with us.”

Our final Business Heroes recognition in this feature is West Ashby Arms, a local pub right at the heart of the village of West Ashby.

As Government closed pub and restaurants, West Ashby Arms adapted their services to offer a first-class takeaway and delivery service.

A happy customer commented: “Being a very small community the West Ashby Arms plays a huge role in supporting activities within West Ashby and since lockdown began the family run business have provided an excellent takeaway service, not just to our village, but other surrounding villages too.

“It has been so uplifting; it would have been a very different and lonely lockdown for us if this family hadn’t provided this service.”

“It’s so heart warming to hear positive stories during such a terrible time, people, businesses and communities have really come together to help one another, adapt their business services and provide advice and support to anyone who needs it.

“We are so proud of our business community, which is why we launched this initiative, it  shines a light on those unsung business heroes who have really kept that community spirit alive during lockdown” explained Charlotte Watson, Head of PR, Marketing and Communications at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.

Aiming to recognise all businesses that have been nominated we will also be doing a feature in our September edition, so check back again next month to hear more inspirational stories from businesses across our County.

Businesses will also be featured across the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce website visit www.lincs-chamber.co.uk or visit https://www.lincs-chamber.co.uk/coronavirus-business-support/lincolnshire-business-heroes/

Funded by the The National Lottery Community Fund – managed by Community Lincs, part of YMCA Lincolnshire.

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