SOLIHULL business leaders have praised the efforts of retailers and restaurateurs helping residents during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Solihull Business Improvement District said the borough ‘continues to prove that it remains a jewel in the crown of the West Midlands with a variety of different town centre businesses providing essential services and going the extra mile.’
Restaurants across Solihull have switched their offering to takeaway, whilst providing meals for key workers and medical staff.
The BID said one new Touchwood restaurant, Yakinori, adapted having only opened weeks before the lockdown commenced.
Owner Ali Karakaya provided doctors, nurses, and other key workers from hospitals in the West Midlands with hot meals to say thank you for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Its neighbouring Caribbean restaurant, Jamaya, provided 200 meals to NHS staff at Solihull Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital as part of the ‘Meals for the NHS’ project to feed clinical staff fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Other firms have provided cash donations, including £1million from French bank BNP Paribas UK, which has its UK Personal Finance division in Solihull.
Stephen Hunt, CEO at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, said: “In such a short space of time, daily life has changed significantly for so many people.
“We hope this support package will offer relief and comfort to some of those people who are most in need across the West Midlands and the UK.”
One of the UK charities benefitting from this will be the Trussell Trust, which runs the largest network of foodbanks in the country and provides a valuable lifeline for struggling families.
Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of Solihull BID, said: “Solihull has a heart of gold and the support listed above goes to show that we are working hard together to get through the crisis.
“I am so proud to be part of a town centre that shows it really cares in such generous and innovative ways.”
Other community efforts from Solihull businesses include:
– National Grid Ventures joined forces with University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) Charity to launch a special appeal to raise £1million. National Grid Ventures kick-started the appeal with a £100,000 donation that was used to purchase almost 400 tablet computers for patients that allowed them to speak to their loved ones while in isolation. The tablets were distributed to wards across the Queen Elizabeth, Heartlands, Good Hope, Solihull and Nightingale Hospital.
– Age UK Solihull set up an emergency food bank and delivered 3,000 emergency food parcels to older and vulnerable people. Town centre businesses including Solihull Summerfest, Sembcorp Energy and Paragon Bank chipped in with donations which has enabled Age UK to keep their essential services running.
– Solihull School have helped to manufacture visors and other materials for the Nuffield Health Warwickshire Hospital and £5,600 was raised for Acorns Children’s Hospice with an Old Silhillians virtual quiz. Members of staff, pupils and parents also took part in the recent Brummie Big Camp Out for Sifa Fireside and the #SIFASurvives campaign.
– Boots in Mell Square have set up a safe space for victims of domestic abuse. The scheme has been launched by the UK Says No More campaign in response to increased challenges faced by victims who are forced to isolate at home with perpetrators.