Jill Wheeler, Managing Director
This time last year I shared FFBS’ record-breaking final figures for the 2019/20 year, and we were still in the first few months of what has been a truly unparalleled year for us all, as individuals and, at Family Fund Group, as an organisation. Little did we know then that the rising levels of need in communities across the UK, and, therefore, high order volumes from our customers, would continue for the next 12+ months.
The impact of Covid-19
Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic we have experienced the busiest year in our history as our customers worked tirelessly to support those worst-hit by the crisis. Our customers support some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and, sadly, the financial impact of job losses, furlough, school closures and periods of self-isolation on those already facing hardship was clearly reflected in the changing nature of the support they needed from FFBS.
The impact of Covid-19 on people across the UK was reflected in the rise in demand across the year, with spikes correlating to key events during the pandemic such as lockdown measures being brought in and the closures of non-essential shops and schools. Overall, customer spend increased by 85% as local authority and charity clients worked with FFBS to deliver much-needed support to people impacted by furlough schemes, job losses and the absence of school meals.
Kay Latcham from Durham County Council says: “In what has been a difficult 12 months, FFBS has helped us greatly in being able to help our most vulnerable customers.”
The effect of the pandemic on those facing new or increased hardship was further demonstrated in the unprecedented rise in orders for particular essential goods and services FFBS provides, as customers provided their beneficiaries with much needed support. Year-on-year, we saw a 111% increase in orders of energy vouchers, 143% increase in cash awards and a staggering 3,168% increase in food vouchers.
Overall, FFBS has helped to deliver essential goods and services to over 500,000 households in need during the Covid-19 crisis.
Providing food vouchers to households in need
Our provision of food vouchers to support the Government’s free school meal vouchers scheme meant that we delivered £7 million of supermarket vouchers to 185,000 households. With food insecurity and the added difficulties of accessing food during lockdown, our digital supermarket voucher solution has helped so many people put meals on the table and this is something which the FFBS team is incredibly proud of.
Malcolm Shaw, Grant Officer for Help for Heroes, one of FFBS’ customers, adds: “The support with food vouchers to the beneficiaries of our service charity has been exceptional.”
Delivering customer service excellence
At FFBS we are dedicated to delivering excellent customer service. Every member of the team embraces our values, supporting customers every step of the way; from understanding the needs of their beneficiaries and business aims; bringing them on board seamlessly and negotiating the best deals with our suppliers to delivering exceptional Account Management and a dedicated Helpdesk service.
Despite experiencing such a big increase in orders over the last year, the team remained focused on providing the very best service to our clients. The rise in order volumes inevitably led to a surge in the number of Helpdesk queries as customers reached out for additional support with their Covid-19 schemes – year-on-year the Helpdesk Team resolved 102% more tickets during 2020/21. We’re pleased to see that overall:
Over £6m donated to charity
FFBS was established in 2013 as a social value organisation to generate additional, unrestricted funding for its parent charity Family Fund. FFBS donates all of its profits to Family Fund, strengthening the financial position of the charity and increasing the diversity of its funding sources, supporting it to help even more families raising disabled children.
In 2020/21, FFBS generated a profit of £1.82 million, its largest yet and the second consecutive year it has made over £1 million. This means that, since launching in 2013, FFBS has donated over £6 million to Family Fund.
Jill Wheeler, Managing Director of FFBS, says “This has been an incredibly busy and challenging year for FFBS and our partners as we delivered unparalleled levels of support to those most in need. At FFBS, we pride ourselves on putting the beneficiaries at the heart of everything we do. This focus certainly underpinned our work over the past year, setting the direction of all of our decisions so that we could best-support vulnerable people across the UK. This approach is mirrored by our suppliers, meaning that we have been able to work together to overcome the challenges Covid-19 has posed and continue to deliver our essential services to customers, together.”
“I am proud of the FFBS team for the hard work and dedication to continue to provide our customers with an exceptional service during this time. From negotiating with suppliers, operating our Helpdesk service, supporting customers and welcoming new clients, everyone has gone over and above to deliver for our partners and help those most affected by the impact of the pandemic.”
“The culmination of all of this work not only supports our customers to help those facing hardship, but has generated our biggest donation to Family Fund since our launch which will make such a difference to the support we deliver as a group.”
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