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Efforts of the business community recognised with special honour

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber has praised the efforts of 24 local businesses after presenting them with a unique accolade to recognise their work during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Developed by Chamber president, Joada Allen, the President’s Recognition was created to pay tribute to the way in which many businesses in the local community have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their response to the challenges posed during 2020 and celebrated the efforts made by the local businesses to innovate, support employees, as well as helping the local community.

From taking part in Joe Wicks workouts to raise funds for local good causes, investing in technology to enable members of staff to work from home, to delivering products used in the front-line battle against Covid-19, businesses ranging from sole traders to large established manufacturers made submissions which were judged by a panel of business experts, including the Chamber president.

Businesses recognised included Barnsley businesses the Hickton Group, which kept staff entertained throughout lockdown by organising a range of challenges which helped to raise funds for the Lennox Children’s Cancer Charity; Barnsley Hot Tubs which defied major supply issues to see its turnover triple as more families swapped their summer holidays for garden saunas, whilst healthcare supplier Amity which saw staff work around the clock to meet demands within the NHS.

In Rotherham, a number of businesses working in the manufacturing industry bucked the downward national trend, with Workwear manufacturer Portwest introducing a new range of Covid-19 friendly clothing, as well as producing more than 200,000 masks per day, United Caps defied the odds to relocate to a new site, whilst Gala Tent saw its senior management team swap their suits for stockroom duties, working without pay to help safeguard the company’s future. Maltby Independent Funeral Services was also recognised as one of the “unsung heroes” of the pandemic, to help the families of victims of Covid-19 to say farewell to their loved ones in a safe, dignified way. Other Rotherham businesses to be recognised included Never Average Marketing, which helped a number of charitable organisations, education provider Morthyng for their efforts in helping apprentices to continue their training, and business training provider Opes Libertas which introduced a number of new services during lockdown.

Elsewhere in the Sheffield City Region, other businesses to receive recognition included VOOT Telecom, Professional Energy Purchasing, Whyy? Change, Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing, The IT Trainer, GH Magic, Affinity IT, Plan. Grow. Do, FAB events, and Doncaster-based alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise which helped businesses to safeguard over 1200 roles through their work as a delivery partner for the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

In addition to recognising the efforts of local businesses, two charities were also praised for their efforts: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the South Yorkshire Community Foundation which helped nearly 150 community-led organisations across Rotherham and Barnsley access grant funding worth over £200,000, as well as helping others to access an additional £150,000 delivered by working in collaboration with strategic partners within South Yorkshire.

Joada Allen, President, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber said:

“The business community is one of the forgotten heroes of Covid-19; many have faced incredibly difficult challenges, with some being forced to close their doors almost overnight and we wanted to recognise some of the incredible achievements made by the local business community over the past twelve months.

“The amazing work undertaken by all the businesses deserve recognition and as a Chamber of Commerce we wanted to recognise those incredible efforts made by businesses which have risen to the challenges posed by a difficult year for many businesses.

“Some have turned adversity into opportunity, others have rolled their sleeves up and played their part in helping the communities they serve and many have adapted new ways of doing things, helping them to lay the foundations for future success.”

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