What A Strange Time
Yesterday, the UK Government advised that we should all avoid unnecessary social contact. Without doubt, this will negatively impact many, if not all, cafes and restaurants. Indeed, the far-reaching effects of Coronavirus on families, friends, communities and the economy are going to be tough. The future is not rosy. Let’s not shy away from this. Supporting local – from neighbours to businesses – has never been this important.
5 Simple Ways To Support Local
Here are 5 simple things that you can do right now to help your own community. Small positive action is the key to helping each other get through this. Acts of kindness and connection with others will strengthen communities and our own mental health too. Despite the bleakness there’s a real opportunity to do good and be part of a team effort to ride this out.
Providing you’re fit and well, volunteer to help vulnerable and elderly members of your community. And remember that those living on their own, who would otherwise be in the low risk categories, are vulnerable too. If they have to self isolate alone, they’ll have no choice but to go out if there’s no-one around to help them with groceries and essentials.
I live in Hurstpierpoint. We have a Facebook Group with over 100 volunteers happy to deliver food, emergency supplies, take dogs for walks, or listen and chat to those in isolation on the phone. Keep an eye out for similar groups in your own community and don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like details of the group in Hurst.
At the very least make sure you’ve given your number to neighbours who are vulnerable, on their own or over 70, in case they need your help in the coming weeks.
This isn’t going to be an easy time for any of us, especially those who are already reliant on food banks or those who will need to start relying on food banks. Find out where your local food bank donation points are and donate what you can. Donations of essentials such as basic toiletries and sanitary products are helpful too.
If you can find out what your local facility needs before you head to the shops, even better.
Hurstpierpoint’s Food Bank is temporarily located in Pierpoint Pet Supplies on Wednesdays 10.00-2.00pm and Fridays 10.00-2.00pm. You can contact the Food Bank using their email address: email@example.com.
For your local Food Bank have a look at The Trussell Trust’s website.
Support your local grocery businesses and producers. It’s nearly impossible to get an online order at the moment. Supporting your local independent shops, markets and producers in-between big shops or instead of big shops will be the difference between sink or swim for most of these businesses.
There are lots of other great reasons to shop local: fresh air, bumping into friends and feeling part of your community. We’re all going to have to lean on each other, this is a simple step to better community cohesion.
We’ve been buying our bread and deli bits and bobs from Hampers, sweet treats from Truffles Bakery and pet food from Pierpoint Pets. Our Co-op has continued to be bountiful with the exception of loo roll and bin bags. I reckon we’ve had more reliable availability than the Big Shops. So, local right now is super convenient.
Support Small Businesses
Think about how you can support local restaurants and cafes during this time. Small business are going to have to innovate, especially if the UK is going to follow our European neighbours with closures for more extreme social distancing in the near future.
Use Deliveroo (if it’s available in your area)
Starfish & Coffee remain open for the time-being. They are cashless and super vigilant about extra hygiene. They also offer Deliveroo, like most other small restaurants and cafes in Brighton. A brilliant way to order food to your home, especially if you’re poorly and don’t feel like cooking.
Support new initiatives
The Fig Tree: will be offering a takeaway from 25th March. It looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out. They’re providing free delivery to the vulnerable and elderly in Hurstpierpoint. If you live locally, please support this wonderfully innovative move.
Change the way you buy
Lindfield Coffee Works: will deliver 1 kilo bags of coffee (to your grind requirements) for free with promo code: LINDFIELD8MILE if you’re in an 8 mile radius of Lindfield. This is one of my all time favourite coffee shops in Sussex. I’ll switch the odd trip to the shop with regular, large orders of coffee to keep us properly caffeinated at home.
I’m not comfortable sitting in a restaurant after the announcement yesterday. I have two small children who attend different large schools. I’ve carried on as usual. I don’t want to pose a threat to others or their vulnerable relatives when measures are now in place to flatten the curve. For some of my own relatives and loved ones with precarious health; the outcome of catching Coronavirus is bleak.
I’ll happily order deliveries and get take out to support local and to ease the load at home. However, as nothing lasts forever and the virus will eventually pass us by, I’m considering buying a couple of gift vouchers for my favourite restaurants; to have something to look forward to later this year.
I appreciate that tough economic times lie ahead and this may seem precarious right now. But if you’re able to keep working and earning a wage, buying a voucher will help ease smaller businesses cash flows, especially those who may face enforced temporary closure. It’s not going to be that easy to spend money if we all end up in isolation like our French and Italian cousins. Especially if Amazon stop delivering. We’ve got a strange few weeks or perhaps months ahead. And when we all emerge, I’m sure we’ll all need the excuse to go out for a celebratory lunch or dinner. That’s my excuse anyway!