Here at Creative Content Company we work with a lot of small and medium businesses, but we also work with charities too. During this period some, charities, as well as businesses, are really struggling. In this blog post we talk to Michelle at Little Miracles to understand how they are coping through coronavirus.
Michelle is the CEO of Little Miracles, a local charity with a head office in Peterborough. This is what Michelle at Little Miracles had to say;
What does Little Miracles Do?
Little Miracles is a charity that supports families with disabled and life limited children we provide a mixture of support activities training and safe spaces for families to be able to come together and support each other and just live happy healthy lives and get the help and support that they need. We were supporting over 9500 children and over 4000 families before CV-19 but this has increased rapidly!
What do you use Creative Content Company for?
We use Creative Content Company for social media posts. Because we do not have any marketing people within the charity and most of our staff members are supporting families. Hence Hazel tells our story to the world. She converts my random mumblings and grumbles into coherent sentences. Creative Content Company and Sphere RHSM kindly donated their time and money to support this for 1 year.
How has CV-19 affected your business?
So, COVID-19 is a disaster for us. We have seen the demand for service go through the roof and we’ve been getting some days getting a month’s worth of referrals in a day where we are really struggling is that our face-to-face fundraisers have all had to be cancelled or postponed so our income is also down.
As it stands at the moment we cannot apply for any of the government grants or funding and are desperately awaiting the government to be able to put out some guidance for charities. The only thing we can apply for is the 80% of wages but only if we stop delivering services to the families which ethically is not an option.
Have you changed your service offering to go online / digitally – if so, how?
Most of our services eg: counselling, family support, benefits advice, sessions for families have been able to be transferred online (ever ran a youth club via zoom complete with Karaoke? – For reference I went with a classic What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes and yes there is video evidence and no I do not intend on sharing it) but we have also seen a massive increase in essentials.
This means that we are also creating and delivering food parcels like crazy as well as essential items. This means you are likely to see our mini bus and volunteers out across the city – if you do see them in their lanyards please do not shout abuse at them for having more than the suggested 2 of each items in the trolley – some of our volunteers have received a lot of verbal abuse recently (including 2 who were shopping for emergency supplies for 28 families.)
My volunteers are amazing and I love them to pieces they are delivering food to families every day as an organisation which is receiving referrals for from the councils CoVid Hub we are also supporting other organisations and people beyond our normal families. Coincidently we are potentially also looking for more volunteers so get in contact to help.
What have you struggled most with during this time?
The biggest thing we have struggled with is the increase in demand and the reduction to our income and have emergency appeals running but it’s not enough. We need central government to announce support to charities.
Have there been any positive outcomes?
Positives – I am trying to potty train my teenager with profound disabilities (mixed results I won’t bore you with the toothpaste down the pants moment) and I am so proud of my team they all voted to keep working rather than accept the government furlough – what this means in reality is if we have to furlough staff that they would rather volunteer to keep helping families than get paid to do so – it is my job and I am desperately doing everything in my power so that does not become what happens.
How are you finding working from home?
Working from home has been interesting – I have 3 children and all 3 have invaded meetings at one point and one put a lizard on my head during a staff meeting.
Where, if you’re home, are your working from?
I’m lucky enough to have a home office but I have my husband working from the dining room and kids everywhere so it’s not the haven you would hope for.
Are you closed for CV-19?
We cannot close – it’s not an option for our families but things are really, really scary at the moment
What is keeping you going every day?
Diet coke and a dangerously low supply of haribo?
Honestly the families, staff and volunteers are amazing everyone is pulling together and it’s more like a giant family than a charity or organisation.
What are you finding hardest during this time?
I personally am really struggling with the idea that I am not able to do enough for these families. I was with a family just before this started when they lost their little boy and I am devastated that he cannot have the funeral he deserves and that I cannot attend with them. This is a little boy that I have supported for almost 10 years. This has been the hardest thing for me and the idea that other families who lose their little one may have to go through it alone at the moment.
What is your top tip for other business owners?
Get dressed as if it was a normal day – do a team meeting at 9 by video meeting so you can see that everyone else is also up and dressed – it also really helps their mental health to do this and have that team engagement – also make sure your virtual zoom background doesn’t resemble a military organisation.
Please say something positive about CV-19.
It has been lovely to see my Little Miracles Family pull together
What does your new ‘day in the life of’ look like?
Day in the life of Michelle – lots of craziness still run off my feet and being a bit to outspoken
Do you have a positive quote with us?
Not sure whose quote it is but it’s written on my wall (anyone who is on my zooms may have noticed I have 9 white boards up in my office and all have quotes written around the edges) but “tough situations build strong people in the end”
Little Miracles do loads of amazing work with local families across Peterborough and surrounding areas. Contact them now if you’d like to donate some of your time, skills or money.