Our ‘Tales from the Funding Front Line’ blog series showcases how we’re working with clients to keep their businesses moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Matthew Richards, one of our Relationship Managers, shares how his client Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services has formed an unlikely alliance to increase support for frontline medical services.

It’s no secret that the travel and tourism industry has been one of the worst hit by COVID-19. Traditionally worth £127bn and responsible for employing 8 per cent of the UK workforce, the coronavirus pandemic has forced British travel companies to furlough 80 per cent of employees.

One travel business directly impacted by the sector grinding to a halt was Bakers Dolphin, a South West based coach holiday firm with a team of 50 employees facing the prospect of furlough. It was immediately obvious that its drivers had transferable skills which would prove invaluable during the pandemic and as luck would have it, the company’s MD is close friends with the Operation Manager at Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services, a client of ours since August 2018. Following an open conversation about the issues both business’ were facing during the pandemic, a partnership was soon forged.

The partnership saw BAEMS provide specialist training to 30 Bakers Dolphin’s drivers so they could offer their expertise and support to the ambulance service during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. It was vital drivers were available at short notice given the sudden spike in activity the pandemic brought with it and this partnership provided just that. To ensure the safety of the new members of the team, Bakers Dolphin’s drivers have been used to maintain the service’s routine patient transport journeys, rather than A&E response.

It’s inspiring to see the work our client is doing to support the fight against COVID-19 and we’re proud to have played a role in helping equip the company to manage this unexpected spike in activity. As a small, family-run business, BAEMS had to scale-up its back-office support quickly. We helped to advise on how the team could strengthen its invoicing, accounting and reporting processes as more work flooded in. With this and the increased funding facility we agreed at the start of the year to facilitate future growth, we played a key role in helping BAEMS to carry out the great work it has done during the pandemic.

The way we’ve worked with BAEMS during this difficult time highlights the importance of strong relationships and going above and beyond just providing funding. We’re staying in close contact with all our clients to make sure we’re offering the support – financial and otherwise – that they need to survive or thrive. This is just one example of how this work is helping British business move forward during a truly testing time.