Emotional support service offered to smaller firms across Scotland

Free support is being offered to help staff at small businesses across Scotland respond to stresses created or exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

An alliance in Oban has developed the cognitive behavioural coaching, which it believes is greatly needed as people return to their places of work, including some who have been on long-term furlough.

Bid4Oban Business Improvement District (Bid) has been working on the programme with experts from Oban CBT Clinic. Its rollout nationally is being supported by a £10,000 grant from a resilience fund for Bids delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) for the Scottish Government.

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Andrew Spence, Bid4Oban’s chief executive, said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that people have real anxieties about returning to work – or to what was their place of work before the pandemic – and that support is needed.

From left: Fiona Blunsden and Jacquie Beaton of Oban CBT Clinic, which is offering support to small firms and Bids across Scotland. Picture: contributed.

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“We have seen that with businesses in Oban. This, however, is not just a local issue. The same is true for people the length and breadth of the country, but providing the support needed is difficult for small and medium-sized businesses without human resources departments.

“The importance of emotional resilience can be so often overlooked, but I cannot think of another time when our collective emotional resilience has been tested for so long.”

The grant support means the programme of four 30-minute weekly phone or video calls is available without charge for those working in SMEs as well as in the network of Bids across Scotland.

STP chief officer Phil Prentice said: “I am sure this innovative scheme from the team in Oban – which we are delighted to support – will make a real difference to people.”

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