It’s no secret that the UK has struggled during the Coronavirus pandemic, and those worst hit have undoubtedly been small, local businesses who are no longer receiving the vital custom that usually keeps them afloat. The economy has plummeted in the short space of three months, and while you might see it as a nationwide issue (which it is), it’s also a local issue that we can help with, starting at home.
Yorkshire and the Humber’s heritage is worth a whopping £2 billion to the UK economy, and is responsible for a large number of jobs across our entire region. So, what can we do to keep both our tourism sector and local businesses afloat? Here are seven easy things you can do, both now and after lockdown.
1. Take a Yorkshire staycation
So, international travel isn’t on the cards for 2020, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Millions flock to Yorkshire every single year to experience the region’s idyllic sights, and while you might just see it as ‘home’, it’s so much more than that.
From the stunning Yorkshire Dales, to the quaint, historic villages of North Yorkshire – not to mention the many, many attractions in every corner. There’s so much to experience and there’s something for everyone, too. Couples can enjoy a relaxing getaway in a North Yorkshire bolthole, and families can explore the Peak District‘s magical woodlands and forest activities.
2. Opt for local produce over supermarkets
While supermarket queues are longer than the stairway to Wetherspoons loos, now’s a great time to switch up where you’re shopping and try out a local grocers to pick up your essentials. Not only will you probably find some fresher produce and better quality meats, but you’ll also be making a small, local business very happy, too.
Pick up your meats at the butchers, grab some fresh fruit from the local grocers, and make use of your convenience stores to cut down on queues and keep them in business while times are tough.
3. See what local traders have to offer
While huge corporations have been operating as usual during lockdown, local businesses have taken a huge hit due to being unable to compete with brands that have a full warehouse team and their own huge delivery networks. This month, give a small Yorkshire business a try. You’ll probably find their items to be better quality than that of fast fashion brands and you’ll be helping someone put food on the table during the pandemic, rather than lining the pockets of those who already rake in the millions.
Browse online marketplaces such as Etsy for Yorkshire-born businesses, who stock all sorts of items from handmade jewellery, to art and clothing. Oh, and while you’re at it, you can check out The Yorkshireman’s shop here – the Mrs will do a happy dance for me if you do.
4. Create a Yorkshire bucket list
If you think you’ve done it all already, I can assure you, you’re probably wrong. There are hundreds of things to see and do across the entirety of Yorkshire – many of which are ideal for both grown ups and kids. From Hull’s popular aquarium The Deep – where you can see real life Sharks – to Mother Shipton’s Cave, our county is seeped in history and fun attractions.
Make a list of all the cities you haven’t had chance to see yet, or start checking off visits to the hundreds of beautiful villages and hotspots across the Dales. If you’re in need of inspiration, our Instagram will help.
5. Ditch the Dominos and check out a local restaurant as a treat
You’ve joined the many queues for fast-food favourites such as KFC and McDonald’s, but your local restaurants and takeaways have been sat waiting on Just Eat and Deliveroo throughout the entirety of lockdown. Ditch the popular chains and try something new while we’re still at home. It’ll help give local businesses a fighting chance, and contribute towards their potential success once this is all over. Plus, most of our cities and towns have waaaaay better pizza than Dominos – check out our guides to some of the best spots in Sheffield and Leeds.
6. Divert your usual morning coffee route and try out an independent cafe instead
You’ll probably be tempted to fall back into old habits once lockdown is completely over, stopping by Starbucks on your way to work and opting for your usual Tesco meal deal for lunch. And while it’s fine to have a preference, there’s a real opportunity to start afresh as we enter the ‘new normal’ (I know, eye roll).
The fact of the matter is, Starbucks and Costa aren’t going anywhere – but those quirky little coffee shops that specially source delicious flavours and authentic beans to provide locals with gorgeous artisan coffees? They need our help. Switch up your routine and see if you can find a new coffee stop that you might just prefer over Starbucks/Nero/Costa/enter generic chain coffee shop here.
7. Check out local markets
Nothing reminds me more of my childhood than a good old market Sunday – Skirlington Market (or Skirly to the locals) to be precise. Every weekend, my family and I would browse the stalls, pick up produce for Sunday dinner and maybe a few fresh bakes to enjoy later on. It was a fun day out, especially in the summer time, and if you look hard enough, you can find some real gems.
What I didn’t realise as a kid, however, was how essential it was to some of the local community to use these markets. Supporting each other, particularly those from the local area and those who make their living on the markets every single week, is incredibly important for the local economy – and it helps keep our peers in work and thriving. Now that outdoor markets are permitted again, why not pack up the family in the car and head out for a day of browsing?