For anyone who runs a business the pandemic has been a particularly difficult and worrying time. A Devon charity is encouraging stressed-out business owners to prioritize their own wellbeing by accessing its new ‘Listening Ear’ service. Project manager Dr Louise MacAllister explains.
Running a business is stressful at the best of times. Running a business during a pandemic is even harder. There’s a lot to think about just to keep afloat at the moment, but don’t forget that YOU are one of the most important part of your business and you need to look after yourself as well as the paperwork.
Listening Ear is a new service from Devon Communities Together that launched in January 2021, in partnership with Devon County Council. It gives business owners anywhere in Devon the opportunity to talk informally to an experienced volunteer about the pressures of trying to keep a business afloat during the pandemic. They don’t offer business advice (but can signpost you to agencies that do); instead Listening Ear provides an experienced, impartial person to talk to, so people can take time to focus on themselves and their mental wellbeing.
Your wellbeing is important to both your health and the future of your business. Talking to one of our Listening Ear volunteers is a way for you to prioritize your own mental wellbeing, especially when you may not feel comfortable talking to your friends and family.
We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for volunteers and now have an excellent group of expert volunteers, many who have run their own businesses or have coaching experience and they are all keen to support Devon’s business community at this incredibly tough time.
Devon Communities Together is also hosting a series of free online events, with the next on 19th March 2021, designed to support Devon’s hospitality and tourism sector and the people behind them through COVID-19 and recovery.
This session is brings together four expert and experienced speakers, I hope attendees will leave with motivation and a sense of possibility for the forthcoming summer of recovery.
To book a free space, visit the Eventbrite page.
The event is specifically designed for those in the hospitality and tourism sector but those in the supply chain, aligned with the industry, or considering diversification, are very welcome to attend. You do not have to be accessing the Listening Ear service to attend.
Listening Ear has been developed by a partnership of independent charity Devon Communities Together and Devon County Council, as a response to a need for business owners to have somebody to talk to about their general stresses and concerns. This need has been identified by Heart of the South West Growth Hub and other business support advisors. It is funded by Devon County Council and it is initially a pilot until March 2021, with the possibility of being extended and expanded in the future.