“I try to keep my diary clear to attend the community business mutual aid calls because everyone on the calls will be clear that change can be achieved through our collective efforts. 

“In many other arenas – talking to schools, or banks, or even to funders – I still often have to explain what social enterprise or community business is about. It’s exhausting!

"In this network we get straight down to ideas, problem solving, collaborations – all without having to discuss what shareholders will get out of this, or how it helps a growth or exit strategy."  [tweet this]

“The calls are like going to a conference, a networking meet up, and a working meeting in one go, all without having to go through the pain of the travel, the hotels, and the awkward, ‘Hello there…’ conversations. 

“You don’t necessarily have to speak directly with the call participants, as you hear someone talking a lot of sense about a problem or an idea you’ve had, and you think, ‘Ace, I’ll check out their organisation online.’ 

“So you’ve got good practice and good ideas spreading fast through a group of trusted people and organisations. It’s brilliant.” 

Iain Chambers is community projects manager at The Bevy, an award-winning community pub in Moulsecoomb, in East Sussex, owned by local shareholders, and the director of the Brighton Food Factory, a ready meals service in East Sussex that has been delivering fruit and veg locally during coronavirus.