Eat Out to Help Out scheme shows confidence is being restored

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My visit to Haverhill market was a timely reminder of our ‘new normal’.

Regular readers to this column will know that further enhancing and promoting the market is a core aim of ONE Haverhill Partnership and, in particular, the Heart of Haverhill.

A task group launched in 2018, the Heart of Haverhill was set up to promote our town centre and our businesses and to provide a platform for closer working to boost our economy.

The market is seen as an integral part of that and it was great to see the Market Square on Saturday featuring new stalls, a lot of interest and generally being an attractive proposition for residents and visitors alike.

Our shopping experience might be a little different now as we wear masks and adhere to social distancing.

But I was equally heartened to see a busy town centre as we now all grow accustomed to a new way of working, shopping, visiting and living.

One big success story in recent weeks has been the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which has seen trade on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rival that of the weekend.

I know one business that has seen their turnover in August match what they would expect during the whole of December. A truly fantastic achievement.

Now we don’t know what the next few months will be like and whether such schemes might be extended, one way or another, but it shows confidence is starting to be restored.

The same applies for Haverhill Town Council’s very different summer programme which has just begun.

Nick Keeble and the super team from Haverhill Town council have organised an alfresco series of events which saw outdoor cinema and theatre enjoyed at the weekend.

Haverhill’s renowned arts scene will also be showcased with local musicians offered a free pitch in the town centre and donations going to the performers’ chosen charity.

This will be another great way to liven up the heart of Haverhill.

As will events on Saturday 12th June 2021. An early reminder, but one to definitely mark down in your diary, when the Women’s Tour concludes in Haverhill.

Postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is great to see that the plans to host the last day of the tour, between Haverhill and Felixstowe, is once again going ahead.

As mentioned before, the event will provide a huge and timely boost to our local economy and it is heartening to see it is back on the agenda amid these uncertain times.

Of course, our new normal will also see students return to a very different school environment next week.

I know how hard everyone has worked in primary, secondary and further education to ensure schools are as secure and safe as they can possibly be. I wish everyone all the best for a successful new school year.