From sponsoring sporting clubs to fostering social connections, small businesses are the beating hearts of our communities and right now, many are struggling.
With three in four small enterprises suffering a decline in revenue due to COVID-19, the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia is calling on the nation to show their support via the government funded Go Local First campaign.
“If we don’t support small businesses right now, what we will lose is our community and the essence of what we value locally,” COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said.
Mr Strong said without the sponsorship of small businesses, many local sporting groups and surf lifesaving clubs would miss out on important financial support.
“Sports and the beach are a huge part of our weekends and so much of that is supported by local business and often the owners are members of the community who have been involved in that club,” Mr Strong said.
While a recent study commissioned by the Pulse of Australia called Moving out of Lockdown found almost 90 per cent of Australians agree it’s important to support local business, Mr Strong said not all had the financial means to show this.
He said another way to help was by sharing positive experiences and reviews on social media to create open discussion about the important role small businesses play.
“It’s all part of becoming part of your local community and banding together to keep businesses running,” Mr Strong said.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir said the pandemic had affected clubs differently around the country and all relied on community support.
“Surf Life Saving is the largest movement of its kind in Australia with over 176,000 members and 314 clubs around Australia who put in over 1.4 million volunteer hours each year,” Mr Weir said.
“Clubs are a central part of their communities and have always relied on the support of small businesses whether this is financially through sponsorship, helping out at events or through in-kind support.
“SLSA is grateful for the enormous contribution that small businesses have made to surf lifesaving clubs across Australia and now more than ever, our clubs need the support of their local communities to ensure they can continue to protect and serve the community.”
Surf Life Saving Queensland life member Ray Fien said the pandemic had dealt a “massive impact” on all clubs in Queensland, including Currumbin where he is based.
“We have lost our main income from our supporters club and our function room being shut down and now with new restrictions we are operating at only 40 per cent capacity.
“We have lost some sponsors as well in these very difficult times and we are currently negotiating with our major sponsors and, hopefully with corporate support and a lot of hard work from our club management and staff, we can be sustainable.”
North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club head of sponsorship and long service member Phil Suriano said when the pandemic forced all clubs to close their doors, the impact was widespread.
“For many of our members the club forms a major part of their social activities and therefore we had many members locked at home with zero social interaction,” Mr Suriano said.
He said sponsorship and donations represent up to 30 per cent of the club’s total revenue while membership fees accounted for 25 per cent.
Despite suffering pandemic-related revenue loss, Speedos Cafe nearby provided service to the club at no charge and The Char provided discounted meals and free delivery to senior members.
Mr Suriano said recent events had reinvigorated the importance of community and shopping local “as it is the locals that support us”.
Visit golocalfirst.com.au to discover how you can be more actively involved in supporting small business.