This week, those parts of Cumbria’s economy that have been closed have gradually started to re-open, with retailers getting back to business, and hospitality, leisure, arts and culture preparing for a July re-start. In order to protect businesses and jobs, Cumbrian residents are being encouraged to ‘think local’ and support their community businesses.
During the COVID-19 restrictions, many residents have rediscovered their local suppliers, many of which have played a vital role in making sure that food and goods were available throughout lockdown.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, residents are being encouraged to continue to ‘think local’ by rediscovering what’s on their doorstep, trying new experiences, exploring and ‘staycationing’ in Cumbria, as well as celebrating our local produce by continuing to buy from local producers and suppliers. After a very hard few months for our economy, which has seen record rises in unemployment, this is an important way that we can all back Cumbria’s businesses, save jobs and support our communities.
The visitor economy, retail and cultural sectors have been severely affected by the pandemic and their future recovery will be reliant on all of Cumbria’s residents supporting them.
Claire McCarthy, Owner of Rattle Ghyll Fine Food and Deli in Ambleside, said: “During lockdown we’ve been working very hard to make sure that our customers have received everything they need. From baking supplies, fresh bread, fruit and veg, homemade meals, and a delivery service to make sure that all of our community, including our more vulnerable people, are supported. We have been thinking and rethinking of ways to keep ourselves, staff and customers safe and at the same time offer the friendly and caring service that we are committed to and known for.
“Going forward we will keep serving our community and keep on keeping on. We hope that we can rely on the fantastic loyalty of our new and existing customers.
“It goes without saying that we encourage all Cumbrian’s to shop locally during this challenging time and beyond; as well as receiving great produce – we have some truly brilliant suppliers here in Cumbria – you will be supporting local people’s livelihoods and investing in our shared community.”
Philip Johnston, Owner of The Coppermines Lake Cottages in Coniston, said: “We welcome any opportunity to support local businesses as well as doing our bit to keep visitors and residents safe at the same time.
“The Lake District and Cumbria attracts people from far and wide. However, we would very much welcome our local people to re-discover all that Cumbria has to offer and take a staycation closer to home.
“Cumbria’s tourism sector makes a big contribution to the county’s overall economy, providing 22% of our jobs and supporting lots of different businesses through our supply chains. That means that every resident – no matter what sector they work in – will gain some benefit from the visitor economy.
“One of the best ways that we can pull Cumbria through the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact is to ‘think local’ for everything from shopping to booking a well-deserved holiday this summer, autumn or winter.”
Andrew Mackay, Director at Tullie House in Carlisle, said: “The Arts and Culture Sector is a critical component in the quality of life in Cumbria. It helps drive the visitor economy, supports community wellbeing and provides safe spaces for people to relax and socialise safely. Unfortunately, like other sectors many cultural buildings have had to close due to the pandemic.
“We are now preparing for reopening in July and would really encourage everybody to take the time to support their local museums, galleries, and exhibitions. Most cultural organisations are charities that rely heavily on admissions income, which means that many have received no income from months. We are therefore reliant on the support of our local communities and visitors and without this we will be in real danger of losing some of these vital cultural assets.
“We can and will offer all of our residents and visitors a great cultural experience and after months of lockdown provide a much needed boost to wellbeing.”
Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Chair of the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), said: “It is excellent to see that we are now preparing for those parts of our economy that have been closed to reopen. After months of closure, it’s really important that we do everything we can to support our businesses as part of our ‘restart, reboot, rethink’ strategy.
“An important part of our strategy is ‘think local’, as we recognise that getting behind and supporting our local businesses and economy will protect our businesses and our workforce.
“Cumbria has so much to offer and explore, including two World Heritage Sites, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere north of London, and fantastic arts, culture and heritage offers, with a host of excellent businesses and organisations that currently really do need our support.
“The people of Cumbria are rightly proud of their county and I’m sure that they will want to do everything they can to get us back up and running.”