University signs new drive to help nation through COVID-19 crisis

The University of Plymouth has joined businesses from across the UK in an initiative to help the country pull through the coronavirus crisis.

The C-19 Business Pledge encourages businesses to help their employees, customers and communities get through the immediate challenges posed by the virus, but also the challenges of recovery.

It has already received the backing of employers representing over 250,000 staff and students, including BP, Everton Football Club, National Grid, and several other UK universities.

Employers who sign up to the pledge commit to three main objectives:

  • To support their own employees throughout and beyond this challenging time. For example, this could include practical support and advice on financial security, mental health and personal wellbeing as well as reintegration back into work for those who have experienced an extended period away from the workplace;
  • To publish clear and simple advice for customers. Where possible they could have specialist teams dedicated to supporting customers if they are having problems, such as those facing repayment difficulties and vulnerable customers;
  • To do what they can to help communities in Britain through the epidemic. Over the coming months we are likely to see a sharp increase in isolation, loneliness, mental health and household financial issues in our communities across the country. There will be an increased need for communities to come together with practical support, such as food deliveries, collections and financial assistance for organisations that specialise in supporting vulnerable people.

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said:

“This is an unprecedented situation placing unique demands on our staff and students. We have acted decisively and responsibly to protect everyone connected to the University and are continuing to monitor developments as and when they arise. However, we also recognise our role as one of the city’s main employers and that we have an important part to play in helping the city and wider region cope in these immensely challenging times. Signing the C-19 Business Pledge is a demonstration of our intent in that regard, and I know both the University and wider community will rise to the challenge and look out for one another until such time we and the country can return to normality.”

The C-19 Business Pledge has been developed by Former Cabinet minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, after she received a huge response from businesses getting in touch with her and willing to be part of a national effort. She said:

“With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding in sectors across the UK, businesses face many incredibly difficult decisions. But those companies who are able to can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.

“In spite of everything, lots of businesses have already shown amazing initiative and commitment to helping people affected by coronavirus. The C-19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done. The early response has been incredible and I’ll do everything I can to help to connect up British business to play its role.”

Advice for staff and students about the coronavirus outbreak

Keep up-to-date on the evolving situation and the University response based on the latest available information and guidance from the UK Government

Read the latest advice on coronavirus (COVID-19)