How Yorkshire Dales businesses are adapting to COVID-19

With small businesses being hit especially hard by coronavirus-related restrictions, shutdowns and customer unease, many have moved quickly to make changes in order to survive and keep services relevant during this period of uncertainty.

Companies are staying connected to customers in a variety of ways, including creating entirely new services, changing how they deliver products, offering the opportunity for customers to buy vouchers for a future date, and taking advantage of some of the fantastic technology we have to stay in touch.

Here are just some of the many ways that our Yorkshire Dales businesses are taking it upon themselves to adapt to new business changes, deal with concerns and challenges in their communities, and show their support to them. And find out how you can buy local across the County

Northern Dales

Stage1 Cycles in Hawes, continues to serve the local community ensuring bikes are safe to use for work commutes or permitted daily exercise through their bike repair, services and spares element of the business. They are able to offer free bike repairs for Key workers (initially until June), thanks to a National grant. Contact in advance by social media, email or phone.

Two Dales Bakery in Reeth has enlisted the support of the Swaledale community, to compensate for the loss of trade through its popular bakery shop and café. Within days of the lockdown being announced it had established five community hubs up and down Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Villages are allocated a weekly or twice weekly bread delivery and their wonderful hub co-ordinators manage each village’s order and payment. The bakery has also developed the wholesale side of its business, and now supplies shops in Richmond, Leyburn and Hawes. Commenting on the challenges, owner and baker Hannah Parnell said: “Whilst we clearly miss the business that would have come from spring and summer visitors to Swaledale, the support of our local community has made a huge difference and will ensure we’re still baking our award- winning bread in months and years to come.”

Elizabeth Fawcett from Humble Pie Cookery Kitchen has temporarily had to suspend classes at the kitchen due to the latest restrictions, after only just launching her new venture in February. However, in the meantime, she is offering online cookery demos as well as a local delivery service for ready meals, puddings and cakes. This is a truly wonderful example of how one business can not only adapt, but also reach out to the local community. Check out her Facebook page for all the latest.

Fairhursts had to carry out a complete change to their business model in seven days, but had a great response to their ready meals delivery service, going from one van in the first week to three vans in the next. Yet another business adapting and helping the community.

The local shop in Askrigg is run off its feet. Ian Bell from Springhill Beef and Lamb has provided a chilled van for deliveries and a driver for them. It is certainly bringing people together.

Simonstone Hall are also delivering meals. Check out their Facebook page for more.

Every Tuesday, Hawes Chip Shop is using a bike to deliver to vulnerable people in the area.

Even in the face of adversity The Home Farmer with its mobile milk vending service, is still going strong. The farm business is offering deals on its new Old Roan cheese and ensuring the safety of their customers with advice and, of course, hand wash.

A village shop has been set up for local residents in the small village of Carperby.

Sykes House in Askrigg has adapted so that customers can now phone in their orders and are delivering.

Yorkshire Dales Brewery is selling bottled beer direct from the brewery and still delivering to local retailers amidst all the challenges presented by the restrictions.

The Wensleydale Creamery are offering free online cheesy activities for people to enjoy, from online cheese and butter making demonstrations to cheese pairings. This virtual experience ‘Digital Days Out’ is live on their website until they re-open again. As well as this the Wensleydale Creamery have donated Yorkshire Wensleydale & Cranberry cheese, chutney and fruit cake to the ICU team at Darlington Hospital.

Masons Gin, Spirit of Masham and Harrogate Tipple have turned to production of hand sanitiser to help key workers from North Yorkshire County Council, health services and other organisations to stay safe and keep others safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Taplin and Mageean have also switched from making their usual fabulous gin to the production of 80% alcohol hand rub to give away free to local NHS staff. Amazing!

Southern Dales

Town End Farm Shop in Airton, is offering a service where customers can place their order and it will be prepared ready for them to pick up. The shop is also delivering around the local area and as far afield as Settle – business is booming.

Ramsay’s Fish and Chip round is to restart on 19th May 2020 with some new rules to follow to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19 including the following:
1 – Reducing the distance they travel. 
2 – Changing the rounds and times to spread out busy stops.
3 – Pre order only 
4 – You will be given a time slot for collection.
5 – Card Payment only. 
The team understand that this means some further out villages may miss out and for this they apologise, they simply want their customers along with themselves to be as safe and protected as possible. 
Further details regarding amended rounds will be released on their facebook page and website along with other relevant information. Until then should you have any questions please feel free to drop them a message.

In Grassington, deli Relish is open and putting together veg boxes and carrying out home deliveries. Grassington Wine Shop has limited opening times but is doing home deliveries. The Hardware Shop is now open Thursday to Saturday.

John Rudden at Grassington House Hotel has opened a ‘shop’ outside the front of the hotel for ‘Rudden’s Rations’ – supplies can be ordered there or online for home delivery, and even takeaway meals. Looking ahead, they have also opened a “Pay it Forward” Crowdfunding page to offer customers the opportunity to buy vouchers to support their business into the future.

Old Hall Inn at Threshfield is selling supplies such as flour, milk, cream and other essentials, and The Red Lion at Burnsall has set up a small fruit and veg/supplies stall.

The Devonshire at Cracoe and the Angel at Hetton have diversified into a food pick up service. The Retreat in Grassington is doing veggie boxes and basics, and Yorkshire Nourishment offers plant-based meals and delivers right to your door.

Kettlewell Village Store is now offering a bring-your-own packaging service where you can weigh out smaller quantities of products that are in short supply to save on food wastage. The store’s Facebook page has all the details.

In Settle, The Naked Man Café is offering home delivery services and The Boxer and Hound is offering local (contactless) beer, coffee, tea, jam/marmalade and pickle deliveries on a Friday. Car and Kitchen are open online offering a delivery service for their cafe menu.  Trevor’s Market Shop and the pet shop, both in Settle, are offering a home delivery service.

Clapham community shop remains open for essential visits, as well as offering home deliveries to those confined at home.

Elaine’s Tearooms at Feizor is definitely worth a mention – they are leaving an assortment of fruit/veg and freshly baked goods out everyday, and The Game Cock Inn in Austwick is baking bread.

Seasons Bakery in Ingleton continued to make bread when there was a shortage and sourced pasta milk, fruit and veg when it was becoming difficult to source.

Seed Hill Nursery Garden in Ingleton and Lay of the Land gardening centre in Settle are both delivering to homes.

Just outside the National Park boundary Country Harvest in Ingleton – is offering a food delivery service to the south of the Dales and The Coniston Estate Country Hotel and Spa is offering grocery boxes and restaurant quality ready meals in its Food and Drink delivery service, with a 10% discount for NHS workers.

Many businesses are offering takeout menus:

The Craven Heifer in Stainforth is offering take away food on Friday and Saturday
The Fox and Hounds in West Burton is offering a take away evening meal service. The Queens Arms in Litton – available until further notice
The Gamekeepers Inn at Threshfield – available daily from 12-8pm
The Victoria Hotel at Kirkby Malham – Thursday, Friday and Saturday night
The Falcon Inn, Arncliffe – Fish Fridays from 5-7pm.
The Forester’s Arms in Grassington – pizza and burger for takeaway or local delivery, available every evening 5-8pm
The Blackhorse Hotel in Grassington – providing a Chinese takeaway menu on Fridays and Saturdays
Zarina’s in Kettlewell and Cecelia’s Pizzaria in Starbotton – both open for takeaways
Rozis in Grassington – now delivering their Indian takeaway menu

Western Dales

The Black Bull in Sedbergh has decided to dedicate their time (totally unpaid), to preparing healthy, wholesome meals for our valuable NHS frontline carers which will be delivered centrally to their local hospital, Westmorland General in Kendal. They have asked their customers, staff, and friends to donate a little to help them to deliver as many meals as possible.

Both The George Inn at Orton and The Butchers Arms at Crosby Ravensworth are providing a takeaway food and beer service, and The George is operating a delivery service for some individuals who can’t get out easily.

Orton Village Shop and Post Office is open and providing a delivery service for vulnerable people.

The Shap Chippy is taking online orders only and is open for collection as well as delivery in the local area. It has also reviewed and extended its opening hours to support the massive demand for orders.

Community support

In terms of community support, there is bucket loads:

A Good Life Project – Upper Dales COVID-19 Support Group Facebook group, set up by Julie Greenslade, acts a community support group with the aim of pulling together and co-coordinating different types of support in the Upper Dales, including providing advice for businesses and delivering to people who live alone. It really shows the strong community spirit and caring nature we have in the Dales.

Grassington community support group is providing outreach, errand running and food delivery for those who are unable to get out and about. We’ve also heard about many wonderful village/road WhatsApp groups which are not only providing support, but plenty of entertainment too.

Buckden Community WhatsApp group has been set up to help with prescription collection and shopping, and provides regular coronavirus community support emails with updates on Government advice. And of course not forgetting the village quiz on Sundays which you can join via Zoom – and boy don’t we all love a good quiz!

Settle has set up its own community response group co-ordinated by Settle Community Hub, Settle Victoria Hall and volunteers within the Settle community, offering practical help and a friendly voice.

Settle is set to become the UK’s first ‘Rainbow Town’ once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted and businesses are permitted to open. The town has come together and individual shops, accommodation providers and others have co-ordinated their efforts to offer special discounts and offers to frontline NHS staff and care workers, as a way of showing their appreciation and saying thank you.

There are so many good news stories on social media, where businesses have really come together and supported the community and kept their businesses running – it is very heart warming to see. If you are a business in the Yorkshire Dales please share with us how you are adapting and/or contributing to the community – we’d love to hear your story.