On Wednesday 10th March 2021, Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest providers of small business insurance, announced a three-year charity partnership with mental health charity Mind.
Funds raised from the partnership will enable Mind to continue to provide its information and support services for everyone experiencing a mental health problem. This includes the Mind Infoline – a confidential help and support line – and Side by Side, the charity’s online peer support community, which provides a safe space for adults to talk about their mental health problems and connect with others.
Demand for Mind’s mental health services has been unprecedented during the pandemic, with 1.7 million views of the charity’s online information about coronavirus and mental health. Mind Infoline saw up to 500 enquiries a day in October, twice the number it would usually see at that time of year. Call length has also increased, with callers getting in touch about more complex enquiries, or wanting support with a range of things that might be contributing to their worsening mental health.
For the last four years, Simply Business has partnered with Whizz-Kidz, a charity for disabled children, racking up over 500 volunteering hours and raising over £340,000. The new charity was chosen by Simply Business employees and, to mark the partnership, a £10,000 donation will be made – split between former partner Whizz-Kidz, and new partner Mind.
Since June 2017, Simply Business has also sponsored The England Amputee Football Association – a charity who act independently, and without FA funding, to provide footballing opportunities for limbless and limb-affected people of all ages.
As well as raising money for Mind, the partnership enables Simply Business to make mental health support more accessible to all colleagues across the company. In the face of the growing mental health emergency and the urgent need to tackle disparities within mental health, Simply Business’ commitment to support better mental health at this time has never been stronger.
The new partnership with Mind comes as Simply Business also continues efforts to support SMEs during Covid-19 – with self-employed workers hit hard during the course of the pandemic and the related economic shutdowns.
The latest ONS figures show that the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy has been substantial. Their data from November shows that 41.5% of SMEs have temporarily closed or paused trading – including almost one in five (17%) micro businesses. And with 14% of all businesses feeling they have “low or no confidence” of survival, the risk to the mental health of the self-employed is significant.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented:
“It’s clear the effects of the pandemic on mental health are being felt across all parts of society. It’s never felt more important to both recognise the importance of mental health, and support those who need it. This is especially true for the self-employed community who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and are of such importance to the UK economy. At Simply Business, we’re passionate about supporting the wellbeing of our people and customers, and are delighted to announce our new charity partnership with Mind, one of the leading mental health charities.”
He continued to say:
“Insuring over 750,000 small businesses and landlords, gives us a unique view of the hopes and fears of the self-employed as we begin 2021. Our new partnership with Mind demonstrates our ongoing commitment to support the mental health of UK SMEs and make these support services more accessible to greater numbers of small business owners and self-employed workers as they seek to navigate these challenging times. Looking back, we’re incredibly proud of how we’ve been able to support our previous charity partner, Whizz-Kidz, with their brilliant work over the past four years, so it feels right to round off the relationship with a final donation to the charity.”
Emma Ihsan, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind, explained that the organisation is “really excited to begin a three year partnership with Simply Business, and are grateful for their support in ensuring that no one has to face a mental health problem alone. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s mental health, especially for those of us with existing mental health problems, has been devastating, and the effects will be long lasting. We know from our coronavirus survey during the first lockdown that over half of adults and two-thirds of young people said their mental health has worsened since the outbreak of the pandemic. We also found that more than one in five adults with no previous experience of poor mental health now say their mental health is poor or very poor.”
She added that:
“The money raised by Simply Business will help us to keep our vital services running, including Mind Infoline, legal line, and our online peer support community Side by Side, so that we can be there for as many people who need us as possible.”
[by Abigail King]