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This month marks six years since I set up Paul Jardine Web Design.

Given the current situation around the world, I’m not in much of a mood to celebrate so I want to instead share some tales of the people around me doing good in the face of it all.

There are so many stories of positivity that deserve to be celebrated. I hope you find these inspiring, whether you’re dealing with the effects of the Coronavirus head-on, working hard to adapt your business or waiting things out at home (seriously, stay home peeps!).

Good people doing good things

Considering all the times I’ve felt anxious or angry over the past few months, it’s been quite incredible to see the positive reaction of people and businesses in the face of all the fear and uncertainty in the world.

Tweet from @skfoodiefriday: Over the last few weeks, we’ve provided 1,763 free meals and 1,000 free ice creams to the amazing @StockportNHS staff at Stepping Hill hospital. Whilst you’ve heard a lot from us, we think it’s time you heard directly from the people your donations have helped support. #NHSheroes

My friends at Stockport Foodie Friday have raised over £16,500 to feed the frontline NHS staff at Stepping Hill Hospital. It was amazing to see them not just do something really nice for NHS workers, but the campaign also supported the independent food traders who normally serve at the monthly event which had to be cancelled. You can still make a donation here.

It was also quite something to see my clients North Product Design developing a bespoke COVID-19 testing kit in just three days. The team worked with a leading pharmaceutical company to make it possible for the test to quickly move to mass manufacture to enable simple, rapid virus testing of the population.

Meanwhile, Nicola, the owner of Tandem Coffee House (home to the best marmite and cheese toasties in all the land), took a job at Nightingale hospital in Manchester to help people whilst the café has been shut.

And I remain in awe of the many parents balancing the herculean task of home-schooling alongside running their independent businesses.

I’m immensely proud to call these people my clients and friends.

Tech in a time of coronavirus

Seeing people embrace digital technology to adapt their businesses over the past few months has been truly mind-blowing.

Special delivery from Rare Mags. Thanks for the gift Katya and Karen!

Stockport indies such as Plant Shop, Rare Mags and Wine Boy have all shifted to online ordering and local deliveries and postage.

Cafés and restaurants including Feed in Heaton Chapel are selling gift vouchers online to help a little with cash flow whilst their shop is shut.

Stockport grocers and zero waste store The Good Life launched a contactless click and collect service via their website.

Ethical business community Conscious Entrepreneurs moved their meetups over to Zoom to offer much-needed camaraderie and support to small businesses.

I’ve attended live online yoga classes with Daria of High On Yoga, listened to ace bands such as The Beths playing acoustic sets from their living rooms on Instagram Live, and enjoyed doing video art classes for my niece and nephew.

It’s been great seeing people use all of this great technology we all take for granted. I often wonder how much harder things would be if the pandemic had happened even as little as 15 years ago before smartphones and modern broadband.

Collaboration over competition

I’m a big fan of collaboration (check out my recommended freelancers page), so it’s been particularly heartening to see businesses team up and combining their skills and resources.

Cloudwater Brewery made a powerful and important statement on Instagram (click the graphic for the full post)

Stockport Makers Market has started selling their traders’ products collectively online for combined delivery. This is a great idea, and surely something that other markets will be looking to adopt even after public events are allowed to continue.

Two of my favourite things – delicious food and beer – have come together too, with Manchester brewery Cloudwater delivering veg boxes and meals by Higher Ground Manchester alongside their own beer.

Then there’s the likes of sustainable clothing brand Rapanui who changed their manufacturing focus during the pandemic to supply PPE to the NHS on the Isle of Wight.

To see so many businesses – in particular small businesses – prioritise the greater good over profits is inspiring.

Positive actions here at PJWD

All of these positive stories have made me ask myself what I can do to contribute. One thing I have done to support those taking their businesses online was to put together my Website Advice for Small Businesses archive full of free insight to help you improve your website. I plan to continue adding posts to this section (if you have any requests for topics please give me a shout).

I’m now running my SEO workshops online, which aside from sometimes being interrupted by the dog barking when the post gets delivered, are going really well. It has made me think it’s something I should have started offering ages ago!

All things considered, I’m counting my blessings. I’ve thus far managed to keep healthy, and I’m very fortunate enough to be able to work from home as normal. Anything else seems like a bonus at the moment.

To mark PJWD’s sixth birthday with gratitude, I have donated towards two wonderful initiatives:

  • Inclusive Indies, who support diversity-led inclusive independent publishers across the UK
  • City of Trees, who are aiming to plant 3 million trees across Greater Manchester

Whatever happens going forward, I’m hoping that the lessons learned during this experience will lead towards a kinder society (because we need it!) and a shift from individual gain to a desire for a collective good.

I’m grateful to everyone risking so much to try to keep us all safe, and to everyone making their bit of the world a better place.

Stay safe out there and big love to you all.

Banner image by Vanessa Santos on Unsplash.

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