BUSINESSES like Schofield Removals are the lifeblood of the Essex economy.

The family-run firm has been operating, helping residents on their way to their dream homes, for 101 years.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, the business, like many others, is facing tough times ahead.

Its moving operations have been halted due to the outbreak and staff have been placed on furlough leave with full wages.

But even though its commercial operations are off road, the firm’s experienced staff are chomping at the bit to help the country overcome this crisis.

The firm has pledged to be there, if needed, in the NHS’ hour of need.

Director Glenn Harden said: “I have had drivers put their heads above the parapet and say they would be more than willing to help out.

“We expect they might be setting up hospitals here there and everywhere and we are are willing to step in if needed.

“We have put forward our services in case they are required. We are all in this together and we just wanted to put our services forward.

“There is not a family out there who doesn’t have someone connected with the NHS.

“My wife has been a sister at Colchester Hospital for 40 years. We want to do our bit if we can.”

No business ever wants to close, but the situation has been particularly difficult for Matthew Schofield, the third generation of his family to run Schofield’s.

He said: “We are trying to do anything to keep morale up, my morale in particular.

“The NHS is a wonderful thing to be able to volunteer to help. Otherwise I have a business which is not doing anything.

“We are fortunate in this area at the moment we have not got to the critical stage where they are in need of lots of assistance, but we are ready.”

These are undoubtedly difficult times for not just Schofields, but thousands of other small firms like them across Essex.

But they’ve survived through the likes of the Second World War, and the family firm is confident its services will be needed after the outbreak, whenever that is.

Mr Harden said: “We have still got a stable income because of our storage business. We are in a relatively strong position.

“We are a small family business and we are frugal which will help us get through this.”

Mr Schofield added: “Businesses are all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter what type of firm you are it is having the same impact, which is unusual.”

And Mr Harden is confident people will still want the services of the firm’s friendly and experienced staff.

He said: “We had 24 clients booked before this and to a man they have said they want to stay with us. We are ready for business as soon as people are ready for us.”

Across Essex businesses are rallying to support the country during the outbreak and we think its time we rallied to support them too.

This is why The Gazette launched its Backing Essex Business campaign

We pledge to back our local, independent and family-run businesses, doing what we can to help them through this difficult time. And we are calling on our readers to join us.

Our newspaper will highlight all the positive things going on in the community and shout about the firms which are still operating.

Please get behind us if you can by using the hashtag #BackingEssexbusiness to showcase a local firm which has gone above and beyond, or tell us about the ways your business is coping.

For more info, email