Coronavirus update: the latest news from East Midlands businesses

Frank Key Group has said its network of five building supplies branches and 15 plant and tool hire branches will suspend trading until further notice, in an attempt to help control the spread of Covid-19.

James Norton, managing director, Frank Key Group, said: “We believe suspending trading is the responsible approach to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all our colleagues, customer and partners during this public health emergency.

“Frank Key Building Supplies is contacting customers regarding outstanding orders that will now not be fulfilled and are closing our sites. Please do not call to place an order, all of our sites are closed to public access for the health and safety of our staff, customers and business partners. Frank Key Plant & Tool Hire is also closed to all business.”

Patioworld by Frank Key, based at Brookfields Garden Centre in Mapperley, closed on Tuesday following the government’s trading restrictions on non-essential shops.

Building materials firm Breedon has closed its UK sites.

A statement by the company said: “We have decided temporarily to suspend production at our UK sites, with the exception of our Hope cement plant and those of our operations which serve critical supply needs. During the course of this week we have begun gradually winding down the relevant sites, whilst ensuring that they are in a condition to be quickly and safely brought back online at the appropriate time.

“Our operations in the Republic of Ireland, including our cement plant at Kinnegad, continue to operate pending further guidance from the Irish Government.”

Purpose Media built the web platform which has helped to promote the initiative

A website created by Derbyshire marketing agency Purpose Media has helped enable Leyton Orient to bring together some of the world’s top professional football clubs and players to link-up and compete in a global charity esports tournament.

The firm last year built the official online platform for Orient. Over the past couple of weeks, since the Covid-19 crisis started to bite, the club has used the site to promote its Ultimate Quaran-Team challenge, which it created in response to the sports ban imposed because of the coronavirus.

When it was announced earlier this month that all football games were to be suspended, Orient’s social media manager Luke Lambourne came up with the idea of hosting a virtual FIFA tournament to fill the void.

The idea quickly caught the attention of several top clubs and players who pitched in with support. It has since gone viral, with 128 teams from around the world registering to compete in the event and attracting headlines across the globe.

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend and Brighton and Hove Albion forward Neal Maupay are both registered to play, while other top-flight clubs including Manchester City, Newcastle United and West Ham are also putting up players. They will take on their rivals from big name European clubs like Ajax and RB Salzburg.

The tournament, which kicked off on Sunday (22 March) and runs until 3 April, has already raised almost £30,000 for charity, thanks to donations from football fans and organisations like SkyBet. Part of the cash will be split between mental health charity MIND and the World Health Organisation, with the rest going to support English Football League teams whose revenue has been hit because of the cancelled games.

Local teams competing include Nottingham forest, represented by local YouTuber and rapper Randolph, who lost 4-1 to Fiorentina in their opening game, and Derby County eSports, who lost 4-0 to RB Saltzberg in their first match.

Purpose Media managing director Matt Wheatcroft said: “It seems absolutely surreal that the digital solution we created to help Leyton Orient engage with its fans better has helped the club to bring such a massive charity event together and connect football fans around the world.

“But, it’s great to be a part of something that is hitting the headlines around the world and is raising money for such a worthy cause. There is a lot of doom and gloom around because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which is hitting consumers, businesses and sports clubs in the same way.

“But, things like this bring sport, business and people together, give them something positive to focus their energies into and give something back to the fans, who follow them through thick and thin.”

Coalville-based housebuilding giant Barratt Developments has closed it sales offices, construction sites and offices, suspended all land buying activity, recruitment and all non-essential capital expenditure as it looks to combat the impact of coronavirus.

The company said it had started the year well with customer demand high.

A statement added: “Given the ongoing uncertainty, we are unable to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on our financial and trading performance at this stage. Accordingly the Group is suspending all existing financial guidance.

“The business is facing this challenge from a position of strength, with a robust balance sheet, a highly skilled workforce and an experienced Board. Our customers and employees will remain at the heart of every decision we make. The Board is focused on taking the right actions so that we will emerge from this pandemic well-placed to continue to deliver the high quality housing the country needs.”