In my last column I wrote about the wonderful local organisations demonstrating real creativity to ensure that their events continued to be held despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Many have taken the online route to replicate to some degree their usual events – like the local shows that have been held virtually in recent weeks.
But some things just don’t work online and as restrictions have been eased it has been really encouraging to see a whole host of activities resume – for the benefit of individuals, businesses and communities.
Like the Coast to Coast Walk – the world-famous 190-mile trail from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire which runs through the heart of our area and supports so many businesses along the route.
Recently I saw how two of those businesses – Coast to Coast Packhorse and the Richmond-based Sherpa Van company – were working together to ensure they could operate in the most Covid-19 secure way.
The two companies provide accommodation booking and porterage services – moving walkers’ bags from one overnight stop to the next to avoid them having to carry a heavy load on the walk.
Their distinctive vans are well-known in the communities along the route but the two companies have put aside their commercial rivalries to co-ordinate the porterage service.
Meeting the teams in the shadow of Richmond Castle – one of the many scenic highlights on the walk - they told me how this avoided two vans visiting individual communities and reduced the number of their staff entering accommodation to collect or drop-off bags by 50 per cent. It makes a lot of sense.
I was also cheered to hear that of those walkers who had no choice but to cancel their Coast to Coast trips at the height of the pandemic, more than 90 per cent have simply transferred their bookings – some to later this year but many into next. Certainly 2021 promises to be a bumper year for a walk which has developed a deserved international reputation for its variety and beauty.
While in Richmond, I also called in at The Station to see how the businesses based there were adapting to look after their growing number of customers. Confidence is clearly returning.
Across the car park at the Liberty health club and swimming pool, there were also welcome signs of normality returning. The gym and pool re-opened at the end of July with a whole raft of sensible precautions in place to minimise the infection risk.
In the pool, it was really good to see the young members of Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club being put through their paces by their coaches and the many volunteers and parents who support the club.
It was all organised with something akin to military precision but the youngsters were clearly thrilled to be back in the water. It’s a great club with a proud history – British Olympic swimmers Nicola and Joanne Jackson started out at Richmond ASC – and everybody involved is making an amazing effort to get back to something like normality.
Finally, I want to thank everyone – business owners, chefs, waiters and, of course, customers – for supporting so enthusiastically the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August.
It’s been enormously beneficial for this important part of our local economy and I welcome the many businesses who continued with it in some form into September.