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With over a year since the pandemic struck, how have independent businesses managed to weather the lockdowns and other restrictions? We took our cameras down the iconic Gloucester Road in Bristol and asked some business owners how it was for them.
We got quite differing responses; two sides to the same coin. Sarah, running a gallery, managed to survive on the furlough and other support although it had been tough. She reckoned that independent businesses fared better than chain stores. Ben, the owner of a tattoo parlour, on the other hand, had lost £100,000 of revenue and received no direct support, although he also survived due to previous years’ profits. He was one of the estimated 3.8 million people denied furlough or SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme). Ben did receive moral support and advice from ExcludedUK, who campaign for government to extend Covid-19 support those currently excluded, and Forgotten Ltd, who campaign for small limited company directors affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.
Both Sarah and Ben said they could not have survived with the support from the Gloucester Road community. Essential stores would offer discounts and everyone was generous and helped each other, including by shopping locally.
Listen to their experience in our short (8 minute) video.
Let us know how your community has managed through the pandemic. Just send us text or video material to The Editor at West England Bylines.
Ed: You may also want to read this article we published on the plight of the excluded 3 million back in November 2020.