Heroes come in all shapes and forms. Some have been saving lives, some have been looking after vulnerable people. But others have been saving businesses. This story is about the latter.
It is about the selfless acts that may not make the headlines, but are none the less critical to the health, wellbeing and sense of community.
After Covid-19 struck, AAI Employability advertised an inspirational initiative to match small businesses with professionals from the ‘furloughed army’ to help businesses adapt and survive the crisis. At Fuze Ceremonies, the team were staring significant income being wiped out during lockdown. They were in the same boat as all event & hospitality businesses – facing a potentially disastrous situation. All the advice was to ‘Pivot’ … and exactly how do you ‘pivot’ your business, when your team are being furloughed and you have little or no income?
The Celebrant team at Fuze, who conduct mainly Weddings and Funerals were on the front line dealing with couples and families not being able to attend or even have a ceremony. The team started looking for solutions. Technology could help. By offering live streaming of ceremonies, the team could enable people, unable to attend, to feel they were part, in some small way. With the help of Tim Street at AAI Employability, Fuze managed to recruit 5 amazing professionals willing to volunteer their expertise: Jack Knill, Laura Sheerman, Charlotte Lem, Zoe Jay and Aimee Moyes.
Furlough Army to the Rescue
The reality of Covd-19 means that at key times in our lives people are being denied the ceremonies they would have had. Funeral ceremonies help us process our most profound thoughts and feelings and make a significant difference in helping us channel our grief toward healing. Wedding Ceremonies are a once in a lifetime opportunity to declare your love for each other in public.
Fuze wanted to provide both grieving families and couples marrying an ability to come together, in a safe and meaningful way, to celebrate a moment in life and to be able to treasure those memories.
With the assistance of Jack, Aimee, Laura, Zoe and Charlotte, the team at Fuze set about developing a robust service – including technical solutions, marketing materials, website enhancements, customer services and pricing.
At the same time the dynamic duo Patrick Bullen and Laurie Withers of Wedding band Twist of Fate were having the same ideas. Sadly, at the start of the lockdown Patrick’s mother passed away. The local church planned to stream the funeral service from their webcam. When it came time to log in, everybody struggled, those who managed to login were only able to watch a few seconds before it started freezing. As a consequence, nobody was able to tune in and pay their last respects. Although this was very upsetting for the family, it was nobody’s fault, at the end of the day it was just an organisation trying to do their best with very limited skills and resources.
Everyone involved has been highly motivated to develop and deliver a superior service – and that’s exactly what they have done. In July Patrick and Laurie teamed up with Anne and Morag, directors from Fuze and merged their offerings with the name We Stream It.
Without the assistance of the furlough team, Fuze would not have been able to develop the services and we want to thank this team. Despite applying for funding (unsuccessfully), the team soldiered on – with no pay. They have been selfless in their dedication to the project and helped move the development forward.
So we want to say a massive thank you to Jack Knill, Laura Sheerman, Charlotte Lem, Zoe Jay and Aimee Moyes and to Tim Street at AAI Employability.
Since launching in July the service has taken off. In August we now have 2 streaming teams and a third and fourth about to be ready to go. The team are now streaming weddings, in addition to Funerals and the feedback has been amazing! Have a look on TrustPilot.