I’ve been delighted with the way our Eat Out to Help Out half-price discount scheme has been embraced so enthusiastically by pubs, cafes, restaurants – and their customers.
Locally, more than 170 establishments have registered for the scheme whereby diners enjoy a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per head served on Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
There’s a wide choice of places to eat throughout the area with, for example, 46 establishments taking part in and around Richmond.
I called in to a number of them in Stokesley, Great Ayton and Northallerton at the start of the scheme and what I’ve heard subsequently is that it has brought many more customers to their business. Some have reported being full booked early week and, most pleasingly, they have still been busy later in the week when the discounts haven’t applied.
Thanks to the Covid-19 security measures that have been deployed people have felt more confident about heading out for a meal after the long weeks in lockdown.
The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy – particularly so in North Yorkshire – and among those hardest hit by the restrictions imposed earlier on during the pandemic. Given the numbers of people employed and the proportion of staff who have been furloughed – the highest of any sector – it is really important that our favourite eating places get back on their feet.
Enjoy the discounts for the rest of this month and check out the participating businesses on the dedicated website https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has also helped to bring more people into our town centres with other businesses benefitting from the increased footfall.
As well as eating locally, we want people to spend in local shops and this week is appropriately Shop Local Week.
This initiative is part of the government’s Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, encouraging people to get back to the way of life they have missed, while following safety guidelines.
The government has provided resources and support to small businesses to help them to engage local customers with the shopping experience in store and online.
In Stokesley recently I saw the traditional vibrancy returning with the High Street busy and the plenty of visitors to the Friday market where I was able to indulge in a hobby – collecting Coca Cola memorabilia. A vintage goods stall had a lovely and bargain-priced Coca Cola storage box which I snapped up.
Finally, it was terribly saddening to hear this week of the passing of Charles Barker, head of the family which owns the famous Barkers stores in Northallerton.
Charles was a gentleman and always a champion for the town and particularly its High Street. He led the store through a period of great expansion, modernisation and success over many years. Every time I go into the High Street premises I think how lucky we are in Northallerton to have such a high quality store.
My thoughts have been with his family, friends and the whole Barkers store team who I know will be deeply affected by their loss.