North Wales business community unites to recover from challenges of COVID-19

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Mold business leaders introduced new measures to bring customers back to the town

The vibrant market town of Mold will be stronger than ever in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As has been the case in communities across north east Wales, businesses and residents have come together like never before; supporting local firms and food and drink producers, embracing online platforms and new service models, and looking after one another during one of the most challenging periods in the country’s history.

As independent shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars reopen safely and securely, with strict social distancing measures in place, the town council has been busy behind closed doors promoting the town and its unique community.

Pre-lockdown, Mold was shortlisted for the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the prestigious Great British High Street Awards, and its vacancy rate was at a very low level in comparison to the national average.

Jo Douglass, Business and Regeneration Officer, revealed how COVID-19 has since impacted upon the high street and surrounding area.

“We have been in awe of the businesses, the way they’ve adapted to customers’ needs, changed their models and offered home delivery at no extra cost has been incredible,” she said.

“The support from the community has reflected that, people have wanted to shop local and as a result Mold has continued to be busy.

“The measures Flintshire County Council have put in place as restrictions have eased have enabled them to feel confident, there is a safety net in place and social distancing rules, as the health and wellbeing of the public is of course paramount.”

Some essential stores have even set aside after-hours time slots for shoppers who have been shielding to purchase their goods in an isolated environment.

“It’s fantastic customer service, people are able to go shopping on their own and can feel totally safe, which is great to see,” said Jo.

Jane Evans, Events and Community Engagement Officer, added a one-way traffic and pedestrianised system is in place to ensure space is at a premium.

And the ‘Totally Mold’ shop local voucher scheme launches this October, ensuring businesses continue to be supported.

“The vouchers can be given as gifts, and towards Christmas we will introduce other new ideas and special offers to build on momentum,” said Jane.

“It’s also for service providers, hairdressers, gyms, events, restaurants and not just retail, which highlights what a wide variety of businesses we have in Mold.

“If every adult in the town spent £5 a week in our shops rather than online that would equate to more than £2million a year for the local economy. People have already got behind it, they have been so supportive and as a result we are seeing green shoots of recovery after a challenging few months.”

The second annual Blasu/Taste North East Wales is taking place virtually this year after organisers Clwydian Range Food and Drink and Llangollen and Dee Valley Food and Drink, with the support of Cadwyn Clwyd, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB and the local authorities of Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire, decided to host an online celebration to ensure the health and safety of participants.

The project is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.