Covid is driving community at a time when we need it most

If one positive can be taken away from the past few weeks, it is the return of a sense of community across the UK. Just two months ago, the Office for National Statistics highlighted a long term decline in Brits’ sense of belonging and connection to our communities. When data was compared to 2011–2012, the public were notably less willing to help the elderly, sick or disabled, as well as having less positive engagement with neighbours.

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But that was two months ago. As anyone standing outside of their front door at 8pm on Thursdays can attest, community spirit has made a welcome return to the streets of Britain. And it’s not just about cheering the heroic efforts of our NHS. As the clock strikes 8:01, many of us are taking the time to check in on our neighbours (albeit while keeping a 2 metre distance), to ask how they are doing and share our own news, and to offer help should they need it.

Those good samaritan efforts have stretched past our streets, too. Facebook has exploded with community support groups for the vulnerable and in need throughout COVID-19, each rife with offers of fetching shopping, walking dogs and purchasing medical supplies. That’s not to mention the 750,000 applications that poured in to join the NHS Volunteer Responders recruitment initiative just 48 hours after its appeal was launched last month, shattering its target of a quarter of a million helpers.

Suffice to say, when times are tough, we band together. And it is that very spirit of community, camaraderie and truly being “in this together” that drove our organisation to make the steps we have in recent weeks.

As a representative of small food and drink brands, it became very clear to us at Young Foodies that COVID-19 could have a devastating impact on our Community. The lockdown and mass closure of key channels for our brands like pubs, the travel sector and cafes meant many had lost their main sources of revenue, further exacerbated by supermarkets prioritising large orders with even larger businesses.

There remained however a potential lifeline for small food and drink businesses. Online sales have soared over the past six weeks — perhaps unsurprisingly, given the government urging shoppers to remain indoors and the widespread concern around catching COVID-19. With that in mind, we set about looking at how we could launch an online platform that could serve as a new channel for our brands to reach customers, and in turn, for shoppers to discover the amazing products created by small food and drink businesses.

Three weeks, countless Zoom meetings and many late nights and early mornings later, on the 15th April, we announced the launch of Mighty Small, the online supermarket for small brands.

For many of our brands, Mighty Small is their first and only way to sell online, but we have also been joined by independents who already have an online shop, but who recognise the benefits of a communal platform where everyone benefits from each others customer bases.

We are so proud of what we were able to achieve with Mighty Small, and believe it served to boost profiles and sales throughout and beyond COVID-19.

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