I wanted to update you on the support for businesses that will be available during the COVID-19 outbreak and how Future Fashion Factory will continue to support the fashion and textile industry during this uncertain time.
Contacting the team
Our core team – Programme Manager Sue Rainton, Communications Officer Sarah Parkin, and Project Assistant Laura Hartley – will be continuing to provide you with support, working from home as much as possible, until Monday 27 April. This situation will be reviewed on 17 April and we will keep you informed.
We are all still available via email, and if necessary by mobile phone. If you wish to arrange a call with one of the team please drop us an email in the first instance and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
You can also contact us via our social media channels, and we will continue to publish our monthly newsletter for updates.
The research teams at the Universities of Leeds and Huddersfield and at the Royal College of Art, will also continue to be available while working from home.
Restrictions on travel and mass gatherings may make it impossible to hold some of our forthcoming events. Wherever possible these will be postponed until later in the year and we will let you know as soon as new dates are confirmed.
We’re already planning events for later in 2020 and beyond, and we want to make sure we are addressing your challenges and meeting your needs. Please do send us your feedback on our previous events, or suggestions for the types of events that would interest you in the future, to help us provide an even better service for you.
Staying in touch
You can still network with and contact other Future Fashion Factory members online.
The team will still be available to recommend and facilitate introductions via email.
We want to support our members by offering you a spotlight in our newsletter and social media. If you have a story to tell, are looking for collaborators or supporters, or have anything else you would like to share with the network, please email Sarah Parkin at email@example.com.
Responsive R&D Funding
We are planning to open our next innovation funding call to Expressions of Interest on 30 April 2020. Currently, we do not expect this date to change, but we may need to arrange for meetings to take place virtually instead of face-to-face. At the current time it seems likely that the planned launch event will be cancelled.
More details on Call 3 will be announced shortly, so please keep an eye on your inbox for updates.
For those of you who currently have projects in delivery or contracting from Calls 1 and 2 Sue will be in touch on an individual basis in the near future to discuss progress and any changes that might need to be made to contracted time periods.
UKFT: has published its own guidelines on handling COVID-19, including steps to prepare your business, guidance on sick pay and employment, and attending international trade show. This page will be updated regularly, but for specific queries you can also email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Government: The March 2020 Budget confirmed that a one-off grant of £10,000 will be available to all businesses that are currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief through Local Authorities.
We believe that other measures are currently being planned and we will signpost you to this information as it becomes available. You can also find your local business support helpline on the UK Government website.
UKRI: If your business has a grant from a UKRI organisation, such as Innovate UK, Research England or one of the seven Research Councils, they have practical advice on their website.
Finally, I wish you, your colleagues and families all the best as we face these challenges together. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything we can help you with.
Professor Stephen Russell
Director, Future Fashion Factory