A LEADING agency which prides itself on championing its local communities has thrown its weight behind Love Local Business.

The Press campaign is supporting retailers and businesses as they emerge from the lockdown by raising their profile, encouraging readers to shop local and highlighting action being taken to aid the recovery.

The NFU Mutual Vale of York agency which is a leading name in its field has teamed up with The Press to help fly the flag for York and North Yorkshire.

"We are here to help," said Mike Addison, a financial adviser for Vale of York. "Local businesses are the heart of the community and the NFU Mutual is part of that heart. It is important to work together."

NFU Mutual provides business, personal and car insurance as well as pensions, investments and protection.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, it has been offering businesses guidance on how to work safely and how to prepare for reopening.

Set apart by its mutuality, it is owned and run for its 900,000-plus members, from 300 local offices offering a personal service, including the Vale of York branch.

Businesses and farms are having to adapt to incorporate new processes, employees and working practices, all of which carry different and potentially new health and safety risks.

NFU Mutual launched a free Health and Safety Telephone Service with its team of experts, to give tailored guidance.

This provides online information on how to manage the challenges businesses are facing, and a free telephone consultation with specialist risk management experts.

With extensive multi-sector experience, the risk management team are on hand to talk through concerns, including areas such as training new or inexperienced workers, social distancing in the workplace, unoccupied buildings or re-opening a business safely.

Mike added: "We have been doing a lot to help small business owners who have needed captial injections but can't get it from the bank. We have been advising quite a few business owners who want money to sustain the business and can't get a loan because they don't fit the criteria. Having that conversation has helped massively. Often it's that listening ear which can help."

He went on to praise the positive outlook demonstrated by many small retailers, whose entrepreneurial spirit had enabled them to adapt quickly to the crisis.

In response to the national emergency, NFU Mutual has allocated £1.8m of charitable donations, through the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust and the Agency Giving Fund, to support frontline charities impacted by coronavirus.

Among these was a donation of £3,214 to both St Leonard’s hospice and The Clock, a food bank in Thirsk.

For advice contact 01904 451199 or visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/york