A LEADING North West accountancy firm has donated thousands of pounds in support of mental health charities and initiatives following the coronavirus pandemic.
JF Hornby Ltd, based in Ulverston, has confirmed it will donate £15,000 - £1,000 for every week its offices remained closed during lockdown - to the Hornby Foundation.
The money will be ring fenced for charities or organisations that provide help for mental health and wellbeing with applications invited immediately.
Paul Hornby, managing director of the firm, announced the move after seeing his own close-knit team rallying to support clients through the Covid-19 crisis.
“Our teams worked from home during lockdown, using platforms like Zoom and Whatsapp as well as calls and texts to stay in touch.
“What became really clear is that this actually brought everyone closer together as well as closer to our clients.
“We knew businesses were under mounting and unprecedented pressure and we wanted to help in any way we could. The standard accounting day of 9-5 went out of the window as we offered bespoke support to our clients as and when they needed it.
“Normal working practices were no longer the best fit. Instead, the team had many conversations with clients over Zoom, getting to know them and understanding their businesses better than ever before.
“Clients have been able to text whenever they have needed help or advice - with the team working through the evenings to process hundreds of furlough claims, loan applications, accounts for loans and grant claims among other things.”
Paul added: “We’re all too aware that lots of people are under considerable pressure on both a business and personal front at the moment.
“We want to make sure we’re contributing to the support available and the Hornby Foundation is an excellent way for us to do that.”
The Hornby Foundation was set up in 2015.
So far, it has distributed in excess of £100,000 to more than 50 local charities, good causes and community groups.
While applications for grants are usually invited on a quarterly basis, charities can now apply immediately for funding.
The donation of £15,000 will be ring fenced for those providing support for mental health and wellbeing.
Paul explained the health and wellbeing of his own team had been at the forefront of his mind throughout the lockdown period.
In order to protect staff, every team member received regular calls to check they had enough support while working at home as well as the option of flexible hours to suit individual needs.
“We had our own team members working from home while trying to balance things like childcare and homeschooling so we know how difficult things have been for our clients,” Paul said.
“I couldn’t be prouder of everything the team has done at JF Hornby throughout the crisis. They’ve shown true dedication to our clients, working hundreds of extra hours to help them during a difficult time.
“As always, we look for ways to give something back. I hope this funding will help boost the help and support out there for anyone who needs it.”
To access an application form for the Hornby Foundation, please visit: http://www.thehornbyfoundation.org.uk/applications/