Let's be honest, this year has been challenging to say the least. Repeated lockdowns, changes in how we work, and a new way of socialising, has all taken some getting used to and left us all longing for things to go back to 'how they used to be'
As individuals, we have had it tough and in some cases suffered real tragedy, but local businesses in East Sussex have also been hit hard by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Reliant on footfall and community support, many have been forced to close or heavily adapt their offerings to remain sustainable in the long term.
Whilst things have been tough, there is one thing that you cannot deny, the power of the community. Through local social media pages, and the county's press there is a real sense of ‘We are all in this together’ with everyone rallying together to support each other and ensure that a #buylocal mentality is adopted to help cement the future of the local economy.
Photo: Winning design of 'Buy Local, Buy Later, Buy Local Online campaign -Read More
The current lockdown may prevent us from exploring the hidden treasures our towns possess on foot until after 2 December, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show your support by thinking ‘local’ when purchasing your essentials and those festive gifts. Many local businesses have created websites, have active social media pages, and are offering click and collect or delivery services to ensure that they remain contactable and accessible during this time. There are also a host of websites dedicated to helping you find the right business for your needs from local produce, gifts, and helpful services including:
New food directories have launched and online communities have sprung up across the county to help direct consumers to local cafes, restaurants, farms and farm shops, wineries, pubs, craft breweries, and others, still operating during Covid-19. We've brought together a round-up of these 'buy local hubs' below to support businesses across East Sussex.
Sussex Food & Drinks Map
The Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company (CIC), which runs the Sussex Food & Drinks Awards has created a list of businesses offering home delivery / safe shopping and takeaways. They are accepting free submissions.
Eat Local | Eastbourne and Lewes
Eastbourne and Lewes District Councils have launched Eat Local featuring hundreds of food and drinks businesses still operating and delivering to local communities. New submissions are welcome - follow the link below.
Eat Local website
Hastings HEART - Hastings Emergency Action Response Team works in partnership with a network of local agencies and Hastings Borough Council to support those in need who are isolating. What started out as a small team of volunteers has quickly mobilised into a community of over 1,000 volunteers.
HEART has compiled a list of local businesses that are offering food collection/delivery services in Hastings, Bexhill and surrounding villages. Add your business to its directory, follow the link below
Local gift guides
StonesThrow, a coworking space based in Crowborough wanted to use their connections within the East Sussex community and their network of professional contacts to put together the ultimate guide to Christmas shopping! What they have produced is the perfect hub of local small businesses providing easy access to a wide range of gifts suitable for even the most unique tastes. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your gifting desires.
TechResort, a local not-for-profit that provides digital tech and skills to the community, has got together to create a 'One Eastbourne' the hub for independent shops in Eastbourne on the internet. Shop from a variety of members yet benefits from just one checkout!
1066 country, the official tourism website for the area has acknowledged that after a year of staying home and missing out on quality time with our extended families what we might love to gift is an experience. A chance to appreciate the landscape, eateries, and activities right here on our doorstep and of course time together. They have collated this handy guide on vouchers and experiences available within the county.