Published: April 6, 2020 | Updated: April 6, 2020

Biz update: Diverse Abilities, Olives Et Al, Loaf & Larder, The Old Thatch, South Coast Social

Charlie, one of the children helped by Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity, which has launched an emergency appeal. The charity also supports adults.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Diverse Abilities launches emergency appeal

Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity, has launched an emergency appeal to assist raising funds lost through the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency appeal aims to raise funds that will help to cover running costs, alongside the increased need for personal protection equipment (PPE), and providing higher levels of one to one care in order to minimise the risk to the vulnerable people supported by the charity.

Mark Powell, Diverse Abilities Chief Executive Officer, pictured left, said: “The people we support are some of the most vulnerable to the risks of COVID-19 within our communities and these people remain our primary focus, now more than ever.

“This support is necessary and we have adapted how we deliver our services as part of this emergency response.

“They include utilising staff support in their own homes, creating new staff groups to minimise risk, developing dedicated one to one roles and distancing rules, providing remote sessions for both children and adults so they can still benefit from activities and interactions whilst at home, and massively increasing our procurement of PPE for staff.

“The increased requirement for PPE alone is anticipated to cost us more than £25,000 per month.

“Right now, our amazing team is working tirelessly to continue delivering the highest standards of care.

“Our nursing and physiotherapy services can continue, meaning that we reduce pressure on the NHS by delivering these safely within homes and our services.

“The next few months will be challenging for all of us, but we can get through it together.

“Please consider donating to our emergency response, and let local families know they are not alone.”

Visit to donate to the appeal.


Olives Et Al launches online delivery service

Olives Et Al, the Dorset-based food manufacturer and shop, has launched an online store ‘Loaf & Larder’.

The new service is in response to both its customers’ concerns at having to self-isolate and also the need to survive following a 98 per cent reduction in business due to the coronavirus crisis.

Olives Et Al has sourced suppliers, found a courier service and built a website all within a few days.

Loaf & Larder essentially digitalises its current store, extending the range to store cupboard essentials and providing a service to deliver nationally.

Mark Freeman, Managing Director, pictured left, said: “We literally built the website overnight and completed our first food order delivery that same day.

“We all  got involved. During the first week Giles Henschel (Founder and Director of Olives Et Al) was working around the clock picking and delivering orders across the county.”

Since then Loaf & Larder has evolved daily to meet customer demands including developing relationships with British producers to extend the range to more fresh produce in the coming weeks and months.

Loaf & Larder aims to deliver within three days, seven days a week, with essentials such as bread, eggs and tinned goods as well as its award-winning olives, sauces and condiments.

Giles, pictured right, said: “Deliveries direct to the consumer were a natural next step for the business, however with the world as it is right now, our traditional business which serves cafes, restaurants and pubs just isn’t there.

“Loaf and Larder has now become a lifeline to maintain and protect long term local jobs and businesses that will all be needed once this crisis is over the worst.

“It is also about supporting those customers who are used to being able to shop for themselves during these unprecedented times.

“We are pleased we’re now able to meet people’s everyday food needs but in these worrying times we are still encouraging people to treat themselves and bring some homegrown happiness to the table” said Giles.

Founded 26 years ago, Olives Et Al is a family-run manufacturer of authentic, plant-based foods and ingredients, primarily olives, dressings, condiments and snacks.

It is based in Sturminster Newton


Dorset pub still services its customers – but online

Question: How can a business survive in the current uncertain climate with no knowledge of when they might be back in business?

Answer: By being creative and offering something that others don’t!

The Old Thatch pub and restaurant in Wimborne has been entertaining customers on social media with online activities such as The Great Thatch Bake Off, a Spot the Difference quiz, competitions and a virtual Music Night.

It also turned its Mother’s Day lunch into a takeaway service and has been catering for the community.

In another social initiative, the 17th century pub, which specialises in serving traditional British pub food, has introduced #HomeschoolWednesdays.

It has teamed up with a local primary school teacher, specialising in Key stage 1 and 2, to provide fun tasks to keep children entertained at home.

The initiatives have been devised by Bournemouth-based social media agency South Coast Social.

Founder, Clare Groombridge, pictured left, said the key to continued success is ensuring that businesses remain connected to their customers via social media.

She added: “It’s important to remember that this situation won’t last forever – it’s crucial to keep your social media audiences engaged so that when the opportunity is there to re-open your doors, they are willing and excited to support you.

“There’s always something to say.

“Only a small percentage of your content should ever be sales related anyway, so now is the perfect time to get creative and think outside the box.”

Nick Pestana, Landlord of the Old Thatch, said the help received from South Coast Social had turned the business around in what could have been catastrophic circumstances.

“South Coast Social have been fantastic throughout this crisis with the ideas they have created across all our social media platforms – they sold out Mother’s Day without me having to open my doors,”  he said.