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Businesses get creative to continue trading

Cumbria’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) has praised the creativity and innovation shown by the county’s business community as many outlets are again forced to close their doors.

With the second national lockdown now into its second week, businesses have been forced to adapt in order to keep trading through to December 2, when current restrictions are due to end.

Examples include restaurants switching to takeaway services, shops adopting a ‘click and collect’ approach, auction houses moving their household sales online and other outlets offering a ‘personal shopper’ experience over the phone!

In addition, local support networks have sprung up in a number of Cumbria’s towns as communities rally round to help out.

In Cockermouth, for example, the town’s Chamber of Trade is mobilising to provide a delivery service for its members who are able to trade online but lack the capacity to deliver goods to customers.

Chamber Chair Andrew Marshall said: “We launched a successful scheme during the last lockdown where we would deliver goods free of charge on behalf of our members throughout the CA13 postcode.

“We’re happy to offer that service again so that people can be assured that goods can be delivered even if the business they’ve bought from doesn’t have that facility itself. Many of them are also offering click or call and collect services, showcasing products on Facebook so people can choose from afar, and even source that all-important gift by phone.

“All the businesses in town have been delighted with the support they continue to receive from local people and we are happy to play our part once again to encourage people to head to their high streets first - albeit in a different way.”

BERRG is part of the Local Resilience Forum structure and is the bodyresponsible for developing Cumbria’s business and economic response to COVID-19.

These displays of ingenuity have prompted its Chair Jo Lappin to reiterate her plea to Cumbria’s residents to ‘Think Local’ and support the county’s businesses.

Mrs Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Many of Cumbria’s businesses have had to show incredible resilience, adaptability and creativity to trade through the past few months.

“It’s inspiring to see that they’re doing the same again as the second lockdown impacts upon their businesses in the run-up to the vital pre-Christmas sales season.

“Once again, we would strongly urge people to take advantage of these imaginative initiatives and show their continued support for our businesses at a crucial time.”

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