SMALL and independent businesses have shown their willingness to help reach vulnerable customers who might otherwise have been cut off during a 12-week isolation period as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

One business at the heart of its community in Perth and Kinross has become part of a new initiative which is grown since being set up just days ago.
Kinross Kindness has been set up by Tim Mart, who has put his expertise in the field of technology and social enterprise to good use.
Within a week, the volunteers had a web page and Facebook group. 
It now has a network of 50 members of the community ready to help, including butchers Hunter’s of Kinross.
Pamela Hunter said: “We are business at the heart of the community and we had already been offering free delivery. 
“Since the concerns with coronavirus, it is even more important to help our customers and make sure they have access to us.”
Kinross Kindness is able to step in and advise businesses about making sure they can take payments over the phone for customers and have been advising on strict measures when deliveries are being made.
Mrs Hunter added: “We are able to take payment for orders over the phone and then the delivery is left in a safe place, particularly if the person is in isolation.
“We already have a fantastic community here. 
“We are among the shops allowed to stay open, along with fishmongers, and in a way have to keep the community going.
“Something which might come out of all of this is a sense of loyalty for the high street in the end. 
“You maybe have elderly people who simply don’t shop online, but we are making it possible to still get their supplies during this time and beyond.”
The business’s strong role in the community came as shops except for pharmacies and food retailers are ordered to shut their doors under measures being considered by the UK’s leaders.
Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced draconian measures for at least three weeks which will see the closure of non-essential shops, libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
The move was mirrored by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said all non-essential shops would be required to shut to combat the outbreak.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said retailers who were not providing “essential items” should shut their doors.
A series of retailers have already announced they are closing their doors, including John Lewis and Primark.
Mr Mart, co-founder of digital coaching platform Know You More, said the Kinross project has taken off very quickly, thanks to the business community and further afield.
He added: “I already work with a platform which brings people together in the form of a social enterprise so I did know how to go about this.
“We had to the expertise to get a website up and running and have made it easy for people to access us for help.
“We were also looking for volunteers and more businesses to get involved. 
“At a time like this businesses have really been showing their agility.
“In a way what we are trying to do is connect businesses and the community together during a time of uncertainty both them and their customers are affected by this situation.”
Mr Mart said there are a number of ways the group could evolve. 
He added: “We will be able to adapt as time goes on. 
“Today we had a number of people inquiring about prescription pick up so that is one way we can help people out.
“We will be looking at leafleting next to spread the word even more and to reach people who are not online.
“Obviously we need to put measures in place to protect anyone involved in deliveries and those receiving things. 
“There will be no face to face involvement in case people are isolating.”
Stuart Mackinnon, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) external affairs manager for Scotland, said this is a time when small businesses are pulling together in the community.
He said: “We know that up and down Scotland many independent firms are going the extra mile for their communities at this difficult moment. 
“And when we’re looking to build these local places back up, after whatever is to come, smaller firms will be vital to this effort. That’s why we need to see government at all levels get their packages of support deployed as quickly as possible.” 
He added: “These firms need help just now, so that they’re around for the recovery.”