Several of The Arch Company’s tenants have stepped up to offer new or expanded services to support NHS employees and key workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the small businesses occupying railway arches within the company’s estate have had to close their doors during the lockdown period, but a number have been able to keep their services going, particularly to support the NHS and other key workers.
Leamington-based distillery, The Warwickshire Gin Company, who moved into a business unit at the Victoria Business Centre in January, were getting ready to start producing batches of their specialist gin. They have now secured an extra unit from The Arch Company on a 12-month rent-free deal and are instead producing thousands of bottles of hand sanitiser to support organisations across the Midlands including care homes, delivery drivers and emergency service workers. Business owner David Blick said: “We’re really grateful for the support we’ve received, and the new space will make a huge difference for us.”
E-bike hire company Fully Charged has taken a rent-free lease on a formerly vacant arch in Southwark so that they can store more e-bikes to keep up with demand. They are offering three-months’ free bike hire to frontline NHS workers. More than 500 people have registered for a bike to use as an alternative to public transport when they commute to work. Company founder Ben Jaconelli said: “We’re working hard to get these bikes into the hands of frontline NHS workers and we’re really pleased that we now have extra room to store, prepare and hand-over more eBikes so that we can help more people.” Fully Charged is one of more than a hundred small businesses in Southwark that The Arch Company has supported during the lockdown period.
Meanwhile, Twinkles nursery, which rents four railway arches in Church Walk in Leeds, has remained open to support frontline NHS workers and other key workers with childcare and is offering a ten per cent discount on its nursery fees to those on the frontline of the battle against the virus. They are one of more than a dozen independent small businesses based in Leeds that have been given three months rent-free to help them through the crisis. Jill Johnson, managing director of Twinkles, said: “The support we’ve received from The Arch Company has made it possible for us to offer NHS families a discount and to focus our efforts on providing care for their children, instead of worrying about paying our rent. This has been a huge help and means the world to us.”
Adam Dakin, Managing Director of The Arch Company, said: “The businesses that occupy our spaces are a diverse group of uniquely socially-minded organisations that have a special place in their local communities. It’s no surprise to us that they are at the forefront of efforts to support those communities and the NHS during this crisis.”
In March, The Arch Company announced a £10 million Hardship Fund to cover the cost of a three-month rent-free period for independent small businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and overseas travel sectors, as well as others severely affected. More than 900 tenants have since benefitted from the scheme, having contacted the company’s dedicated Coronavirus Support Unit.