A look Back On A Challenging Year
What a Year...
As Covid restrictions start to ease and we hear from more of our old customers who are starting to trade again after a very difficult 15 months we have taken time to reflect on the last year or so.
As a business and as individual's we are very lucky as we are still here. Some of our customers, friends and businesses are not so lucky and our thoughts are with them.
From early on in the pandemic we tried to help in as many ways as we could. To this end we got involved with a number of covid related projects such as supplying volumes of ribbons for the manufacturer of Battery Packs for ventilators. As well supplying ribbon to hold specialist cannula in place, to mention just a couple of the needs that we were able to help with..
Our thoughts also turned to trying to help young children stay entertained whilst stuck at home and unable to attend nursery and school, this was an especailly difficult time for a lot of them and as parents of two under eight we could totally relate to this issue. In addition the elderly were also a group that we wanted to try and assist where we could.
With this in mind we launched our free ribbon craft pack project where by parents, groups and charities could order a free bag / bags of ribbon waste and off cuts from us which were ideal for crafting with. We had a lot of lovely feedback from this including a lot of images of the craft items that people had made with there ribbon packages, some of the messages were very touching and it was quite humbling to see what a difference a simple gesture like this had made .
Over the lock down we supplied over a thousand of these free ribbon bags in total to a wide range of groups and individuals across the country.
In addition Simply Ribbons put together ribbon, elastic and button packs for customers making masks and scrubs for Key & NHS workers and sent many out free of charge or at cost, in our effort to support those supporting the NHS effort around the country.
During this period we had the added challenge of having to make arrangement for part of the warehouse to have its roof fully replaced.
This was the direct result of a fire which had broken out in the neighbours farm barns that border the back of the warehouse.
Eight appliances had attended the blaze which took eight hours to get under control. As we are very rural water was a massive issue with the fire trucks only having around twenty minutes supply on board and no hyrdant in the road nearby. We were incredably lucky that the crews were able to pump water from our pond and river in oder to fight the blaze and fortunately save our warehouse from more damage.
As the fire crews worked hard to contain the blaze and we were all evacuated from the offices and buildings, the girls ( Julie, Jo & Elaine) took it upon themselves to keep the crews feed and watered during the day as we were extremely appreciative of there help. The constant supply of coffee tea and sausage sandwiches were well recieved. Our heart felt thanks goes out to Shropshire and Powys fire crews.
The images below show the fire and the sheeting down of part of the warehouse. The net result was that we worked for six months surrounded by scaffolding, boards and tarpaulin which proved a challenge.
As the year progressed a number of our customers approached us during lock down to see if we could supply any ribbon kits as they had enjoyed making the Christmas Themed Wreaths and Garlands, but were now looking for something to fill there spare time with.
Never ones to back down from a challenge Julie & Jo set to work designing rainbow garlands and wreath kits together with a number of other themed kits. These were well received and proved very popular. We supplied these at just over cost, again with the aim of helping a cross section of our customers, hopefully these provided hours of pleasure to a lot of people around the country.
As the year progressed and peoples thoughts started turning and reflecting on the year that had passed and not only the dreadful cost in lives lost but also some of the positive community stories and charitable actions of a lot of people from around the country.We started to get approached by a number of organisations to see if we could help in projects of reflection and thanks.
In the end we took part in two large projects to help remember, celebrate and give thanks for people and their actions during this extremely difficult time. One such project was organised through Greenwich Council and involved residents submitting there thanks and wishes which we transposed via print on to 100mm wide satin ribbon in washable ink to withstand the weather these were made into over a thousand banners.
The banners were doubled over and a seem sewn so that a dowel could be inserted to hang the banner from, meaning the words printed could be read on both sides of the ribbon banner.
These appeared in a number of locations around the borough of Greenwich with great effect.
We have used a number of the images below of the banners - credit for these images goes to Greenwich Borough Council & their Web Site.
In Addition to the project in Greenwich we also provided printed ribbon instillations, expressive peoples thanks and wishes, that hang on a Giant May Poll in London At The Bloomsbury Festival and A Christmas Tree in Cambridge.
These were lovely projects to be able to be part of and a lot of the comments that we printed on the ribbons were very thought provoking and quite moving.
As more and more of us are vaccinated and the restrictions around the country are gradually lifted, life very slowly begins to look a little more like we remember.
However it's a year / fifteen months that I expect very few of us will ever forget for a whole hoist of reasons both bad and good.
Certainly It will leave its mark on us at Simply Ribbons, we were pleased to do what we could to help, and enjoyed working with some great people from a distance. The stress of replacing our roof and working around the building work was challenging.
Lets hope that the next twelve months are a little kinder on us all, stay safe everyone...