We’re in the final part of 2020, and I think it’s safe to say that this year hasn’t been the best of years for us all. We’ve experienced wildfires burn through homes, we are currently in the grips of a worldwide pandemic, headlines seem to involve political activism more than ever.

We’ve adjusted to a lifestyle we never would have imagined at the start of this year. And whilst as a whole, the year seems like it’s been nothing but bad news, we’d like to spread some positivity by sharing some of the silver linings The B2W Group team have found to get them through these unprecedented times.

The first thing we can all agree on, is when our Managing Director treated us all to a takeaway to make up for the fact we couldn’t have our summer staff party…

During the year, many people have found more time than ever to spend time with their family and really appreciate the free time that they now have to watch their loved ones grow. Some staff members have welcome new additions to their families.

Rufus now has a little brother to snuggle up to, Eleanor and Luke welcomed Freddie Muscat in to the world in April.

And a few staff members welcome some four-legged friends to their family.

Meet Ted! Our finance director, Christina, welcomed him to her home in June after a very long wait!

Our Learner Engagement Advisor, Hayley, welcomed Roxy to her family.

Our campaign manager, Neil Baker has been dog-sitting Charlie. He’s been a great colleague whilst Neil works from home!

Our commercial director Neil Organ brought home Diablo. Scientist are still working to confirm if he’s a hamster or a bat.

(No animals were harmed in the making of this video)

Mel successfully bonded her three guinea pigs, and now has one very squeaky and happy household! 

Mel also did some home renovations, and is particularly proud of her garden!

Our digital marketing officer, Hattie, bought and moved in to her first house and has been very busy making it her home.

This has been a time of reflection for many of our employees, and they are extremely thankful for the love that they have around them.

“I got to see my now 21 month old, grow from a baby into a toddler!  It literally happened overnight! From crawling to walking, to counting to 10!”
– Cheryl Pawluk

“Lockdown has been really tough for those of us living on our own. The thing I am thankful for most of all is my colleague and friend Naomi, she also lives alone and throughout this whole situation she has managed to keep me motivated and helped my anxiety to not run away with me. From calling almost every day to joining each other on Animal Crossing, she has been an absolute star and although I only started here in January, I feel like I have a best friend for life in Naomi.”
– Kylie Gibson

“I kept 3 children alive from March until they started back at school in September!!
The weather was amazing so I decided to partake in a 52,000 step challenge in July to raise awareness and much needed funds for The Bone Cancer Research Trust which is a charity really close to my heart having supported myself and my family through an extremely tough time in our lives and also a charity to which my husband is their Patient Ambassador.
August saw my husband decide to attempt to walk 100 miles throughout the month in aid of The Bone Cancer Research Trust, as he’s an amputee, this is no mean feat and he found this extremely challenging, I decided it would be an opportunity to be able to support him, meaning I walked over 130 miles for an amazing cause.
I really struggled with my mental health after being furloughed and then subsequently put in shielding but being able to walk alone in the gorgeous sunshine did wonders.  We have some amazing reservoir walks close to home and I made sure I made the most of them.”

– Kate Lloyd

Julie was lucky enough to manage to squeeze in a holiday this year, a highlight for her was watching Liverpool beat Arsenal at Andy’s Bar in Benidorm.

Leila learnt to connect with nature, as she doesn’t have a garden, she made a street garden and started growing flowers, fruits and vegetables.

All of her neighbours love it, and so do we!

We’ve had some really active staff members, including Angela who hasn’t let the situation slow her down!

“I have had roughly 14 running events booked for the year and all but one have been postponed until next year or have cancelled all together. Due to social distancing I have also not been able to run with the various running clubs that I am a member of. So, to keep the running up I have done a range of  virtual runs (basically running a set distance alone)- will send you a picture of my bling. This month I signed up for  RED October (Run Every Day October) which started off great, until I had to isolate and I am now completing this challenge by running the 5K plus per day by running around and around in circles in my garden. It’s very boring and it makes me very dizzy, but I see this as a challenge and it really does give me some focus each day and goes to show goals can still be achieved in the strangest of ways. Goodness knows what my neighbours must think!”

Ben Waite’s wife, did the virtual London Marathon, and his highlight of this year has been having the whole family cheer her on through that!

Ben and his family were also very active in our quizzes in summer, and they managed to secure each of the top three prizes on different occasions!

Mike Seddon has been active in exploring nature and developing his photography skills with his new drone!

He’s been sharing his photos and they are all incredible! Great to see areas from views we wouldn’t usually get.

It’s been really great to see so many moments of pure joy experienced by the team, and proof that a glass half empty situation can easily be turned into a glass half full one.

To finish this up, here’s a reminder that it’s OK if you feel like you’ve not had these silver linings or anything to celebrate. The past few months have been tough and if the best thing you accomplished was getting out of bed then that’s fine – you still did that! 

As always, we have an amazing safeguarding team you can speak to about any issues you have surrounding your mental health, and can find more support here.