Despite the unprecedented package of help announced by the Chancellor, businesses are still struggling as holidays are off the agenda, and as retailers and the hospitality industries are still largely closed, meaning streams of income are shut off.
With Trev’s permission, I have used this from the Lockdown Diaries page as it is a reminder of some of the difficulties faced by a small business at the moment. Taxi driver, Trev, had previously been unwell (not COVID-19) for some weeks but is now back at work driving his taxi which can now only take three people and has a safety screen in place. His tale could come from almost any small business in Bude right now.
However, as anyone in or around Bude knows, it is very quiet at the moment, even more so due to the colder weather:
I started back at work (taxi) on June 1st mainly due to boredom as I knew the business wouldn’t be there but if I could pick up the odd job then I’d have a purpose to live!
I craved meaningless conversation, too, which happened regularly in the taxi. I’ve always gone by what’s said in the taxi stays in the taxi.
So, I’ve averaged 3 phone calls per 10 hour shift this week which, before lockdown, was 100+ calls in June! So, I’m definitely not coming anywhere near breaking even. My landlady has been amazing and Cornwall Council has been amazing, too.
Last month, I applied for Universal Credit, through necessity rather than choice, and they paid me but again it was nowhere my break-even figure (great if I didn’t have a business to keep going though). Then, a few days later I was paid a self employed grant which helped pay to keep business going, but because I got the grant, then my Universal Credit was stopped for June!
If it wasn’t for the generosity of some lovely people I know, then I definitely wouldn’t be able to survive.
Roll on June 15th when non-essential shops open but even more so for me, as a struggling business, roll on July 4th when caravan sites and B and Bs open as we need people to be here.
On the plus, side my cooking is amazing and I can prepare a meal in no time at all.
My business page on Facebook is going from strength to strength and one posting has reached almost 5 million people! My BigupBude page is on the up too and I’m trying to help other small businesses gain likes and I now have a waiting list for businesses to be promoted which is lovely, too.
I’m now sitting on the taxi rank and the phone has been on since 9am. It’s now 11.30am and I’ve not moved yet!!
If you have a business in Bude or have any views on the current situation, please comment.