For the majority of us who live in Cornwall and Devon, the biggest impact of Covid is likely to be economic, rather than health related. There is no doubt that we have been fortunate with the virus. Yesterday marked one month with no Covid related deaths in Cornwall and while numbers of cases are increasing, they are still few and far between – let’s hope this continues.

However, the economic impact is huge. Today’s news that almost 6 million people in rural areas are at risk of losing their jobs is terrifying. In Cornwall, 60% of jobs are at risk and Devon is not far behind, with 56%, largely due to the heavy reliance on retail and tourism in both areas. These job losses are likely to become particularly acute as furloughing ends in October – Cornwall has the highest percentage of people on furlough in the whole England.* A grim picture with no easy answers.

But there are chinks of light. Last week, we held an inspiring webinar featuring three amazing young people from Cornwall and their enterprises – social media influencing, environmental campaigning and video production. All three oozed positivity and were entirely clear that challenges are also opportunities, which they fully intend to take, both to create work and to make a difference. Listening to them is reassuring – creativity and enterprise is alive and well – but also somewhat daunting. What if you are a little lacking in confidence or aren’t sure if your idea has legs?

Fortunately, Real Ideas can help. Over the years we’ve helped thousands of young people, start-ups, social enterprises and community businesses. We are eternal optimists – everyone can find their way to work, to learning, to setting up a side hustle or a business, to campaigning, making and community action – to lives they enjoy, are sustainable and contribute positively.

During the pandemic, we have increased the online support we offer, which will continue, even as our co-working spaces gradually re-open and events restart. If you’d like to find out more, you can join us for free and access business support, help if you’re under 25 and use of facilities and space. If you’re further down the road and are ready to start or grow an enterprise, look out for Start Something – £3,000 worth of access to great facilities and support from Real Ideas to help 10 great ideas develop and grow.

*Source: County Councils Network