In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it's absolutely vital that we do all we can to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
For many businesses — in London and across the world — that means closing their doors to the public while social distancing measures remain in place. This drastic yet necessary course of action has the potential to be financially devastating, particularly for small, independent businesses.
However, in these extraordinary times, there are a few things you can do to help soften the blow. And Help Your Hood is a good place to start. This new website maps independent shops, restaurants, and cafes that offer gift cards. Buy one, and your favourite florist, taproom, or boutique will get some much-need revenue straight away — and you've got a treat to look forward to once everything has calmed down a bit.
Help Your Hood, the brainchild of a Spanish couple, started mapping businesses in London, Barcelona, and Portland, where its founders had people on the ground. But it has since expanded to the likes of Ottawa, Antwerp and Dundee, as people add their own recommendations.
You can submit your business (or one that you love) to Help Your Hood here, which has guidance for setting up gift cards if your business does not yet offer them. Help Your Hood also welcomes contributions from designers and other such creative types who would like to submit promotional images for a particular business.
We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for more ways to safely support London's hospitality, retail, and cultural sectors during the pandemic, so watch this space — and if you have any of your own recommendations, please do get in touch.
Keep up to date on all the latest London coronavirus news here.