A POPULAR Scalloway nursery has won a prestigious UK-wide small business of 2020 award.
Hame Fae Hame is one of a small number of firms to earn the Sunday Times/Lloyds Banking Group accolade this year having been among over 800 nominations across the country.
Business owner Kaye Sandison said she and her staff were “just delighted” to receive the happy news. They were nominated by a mum, Gemma MacGregor, whose three children regularly attend the village’s childcare service.
The award went to businesses that showed special resilience and innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Kaye said there was no doubt her 13-year-old enterprise had to adapt by “thinking on our feet from day to day as things kept changing” throughout 2020.
“It was perfect timing for us,” she said. “We’re all really tired now – I think everybody is, it [the pandemic] has gone on for so long. It was really nice that it was a parent that nominated us.
“Considering there was over 800 nominations, and we’re a tiny company in the middle of the North Sea, it was just really lovely to get the recognition.”
Lloyds Banking Group’s business banking managing director Gareth Oakley said: “Kaye and the team have gone above and beyond to help others time after time – their community spirit is an inspiration.”
It is quite a transformation in fortunes for Hame Fae Hame given Kaye seriously feared for the business’s survival when Covid-19 struck 11 months ago.
“We were looking at bankruptcy at the beginning of March . We had virtually no bairns, over 20 staff, and I just didn’t see how we were going to be able to pay the rent or the wages at the end of the month,” she said.
But salvation came in the form of the UK furlough scheme and, crucially, Hame Fae Hame being designated as a critical childcare provider: “If it hadn’t been for that we would have gone under.”
During the first spring lockdown Hame Fae Hame proved its wider worth as staff and bairns ran the village’s food bank scheme, bagging up essentials for those eligible for free school meals as well as other vulnerable people in the village and its surrounds.
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