* indicates required

Helping our hospitality sector

WITH the hospitality sector taking the brunt of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, there is, of course, no predicting how – or when – things may improve for the county’s pubs, restaurants and cafes or the local producers which supply them.

Which is why The Mallows Company, which runs the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and the Made In Northamptonshire (MIN) networking group, is focusing its attention on offering support to those in the sector to help ensure that they come out the other side.

Rachel Mallows MBE DL is the Awards Director and says that, while they are planning for the competition to proceed following its launch this month, the priority is to ensure that the county’s smaller businesses which might be most affected by such challenging circumstances get all the assistance that is on offer

“With the situation changing on a daily basis, it’s difficult to get a firm picture on how things are going to progress for the sector in the coming weeks and months, but we haven’t built up a strength of community between our food and drink businesses here in the county, only to let this situation get the better of us,” said Rachel.

“Here in Northamptonshire we will be working very hard to try to minimise the risk to our wonderful small and independent producers and eateries and, through our regional work with the local enterprise partnership, SEMLEP, we shall certainly be pressing the government to prioritise the sector through its emergency support measures and will act as a conduit for providing useful national as well as local resources.”

The company also administers FEAST2 (Food Enterprise Advisory Support), a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund which offers access to grants, technical support and mentoring to eligible food and drink manufacturers, and is keen to stress that the scheme’s services remain active, with help available via the phone, email or Skype where businesses have put social isolation restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, with the organisers of some of the larger food and drink festivals planned for later in the year having already taken the decision to cancel or postpone their event, and with more likely to follow, Rachel says we can all help to mitigate the threat to those stallholders affected.

“With a number of our MIN producers reliant on such events for the considerable sales opportunities they present, not to mention the drying up of orders from local pubs and restaurants, this really is the time for everyone to buy local if they can,” she said.

“So, whether you want mouthwatering breads, cheeses, meats, chutneys, beers, ciders and much more besides, please do support our amazing local producers.

“These businesses need your custom all the more during these challenging times, so please continue to visit your regular local stockist or supplier where possible, order direct from them if you can, or visit the MIN shop at www.madeinnorthamptonshire.org

Full coverage of the launch of the awards – delayed owing to the coronavirus outbreak – will be published in next month’s edition while you can also find out more about the competition, including how to get involved as an entrant or a sponsor, at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/foodawards or on Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ

Meanwhile, with plans at this stage for all of the categories to proceed, including those for eateries, if you have a favourite pub, restaurant or cafe which you think should be encouraged to take part – for free – in the competition, let the awards team know by calling 01933 664437.

Companies mentioned in this article

More news articles: