Local loyalty to Calder Valley towns helping businesses weather the pandemic

People’s support for their town's shops and businesses was helping the upper Calder Valley’s economy weather the pandemic so far, councillors heard.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 11:08 am
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 11:12 am

Calderdale Council’s Place Scrutiny Board was hearing from all areas of the borough how businesses were coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Sands, of The Good Company, who founded Totally Locally, which aims to support economies like those in the Calder Valley, said in Hebden Bridge 80 per cent wanted to shop in their local shops.

Businesses in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge were using technology to get their goods to shoppers.

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Chris Sands, of The Good Company, who founded Totally Locally,

Mr Sands said he had worked with Hebden Bridge businesses on a pilot scheme to take shopping online that had recently started in Hebden Bridge and so far appeared to be working.

Todmorden had done well online because the community spirit there was fantastic and Hebden Bridge Market was busier than it had ever been.

“Community shops are the people who have benefitted from the cities closing down and people are working from home,” said Mr Sands.

But hospitality businesses were still struggling, he said.

Alan Rogers, of Todmorden Connect, said they had been able to keep businesses in the town informed and until very recently no business had closed down, but one had now done so.

Generally, he said: “Todmorden seems to have fared fairly well so far, but there is a lot of unease about what restrictions might lie ahead.

“The feeling is if we do get further restrictions, it could be a very different story.”

Mr Rogers said some shops had seen footfall at about 40 per cent of normal levels.

“We are very lucky to have the market here, they were just starting to see upturn in August and September with people coming in from Lancashire but that stopped two or three weeks ago with lockdown in those areas,” he said.

But the market had used technology, with the Shop Appy app proving very successful.

“They are a resilient bunch but the next few weeks will be fairly vital in terms of what restrictions there might be,” said Mr Rogers.

Coun Josh Fenton-Glynn (Lab, Calder) said barriers on some Hebden Bridge shopping streets were an issue but were being replaced by planters in partnership with Hebden Royd Town Council.