17 Mar 2020

Further to yesterday’s announcement from Government about increased social distancing and isolation and the recommendations that we should all be avoiding pubs, restaurants and public places we are sure that you, like us have a lot more questions than answers.  This morning we met with our senior management team excluding those on holiday or not on dayshift or off site in order to discuss more fully the ramifications of the UK PM’s decision to make this quite radical move and its impact on ongoing trading of our company and its customers.
This is a very fluid situation with policy changing on an almost daily basis but we are determined that we will keep the business going for the duration of the crisis, all things being equal.  We have been in business for 145 years and the business we started with is nothing like the business we have now and we are firmly of the opinion that the business will have again changed by the time we come out the other end of this global pandemic.  However we have endured through two World Wars, Spanish influenza, the 'beast from the east', fires and Brexit and it is always our determination that we fulfil our obligation to our employees and their families and our community by remaining a viable business.
We have built financial and staff resilience within the business to allow us to meet these challenges over the years.  This is somewhat more unusual for the current management team as this one does not seem to have a recognised beginning, middle and end but we have a management team consisting of many who have seen us through previous challenges and are capable of remarkably dynamic thinking.
We have in our planning attempted to counter for self isolating, home working and reduction in current turnover.  Certain roles absolutely need to be filled and we may well require team members to redeploy into other departments and indeed, to change shift patterns and working hours in order to ensure continuity.
We have been contacting key customers and suppliers over the last few hours and are reassured by their like minded philosophy.
We will be holding daily meetings with the management team and updates will be issued regularly.
This is a very distressing time not just for the company but for the country and its citizens and we appreciate that we will all be working in what could be quite distressing circumstances.  Please ensure that you take every step to look after yourself both physically and mentally.  Your well being is paramount to us. 
With our very best wishes
Jim Rowan and Julie Dunn