[Update: On Monday 23rd March, the UK Government has placed the country under far tighter restrictions. As such, nearly all the businesses below are now closed. We hope to see all of you on the other side of this. #StaySafeSaveLives!
[Update: On Friday 20th March, cafes, pubs and restaurants have been directed by the Government to close and only offer take away. See the updates below for individual businesses.]
Today was, without a doubt, one of the strangest in my teaching career. Standing in assembly with Year 11, the unprecedented nature of what is happening truly hit home, as we worked to reassure them about the situation and their futures. I was exceptionally proud of how resilient they all were as they come to terms with such high levels of uncertainty – not only about their GCSEs but also what might happen to their friends and family over the coming months.
East Sussex has not seen high numbers of cases yet (eight at the time of writing), but the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt across Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea. Not least by the local, coastal, community that is built around small local businesses.
If I’ve learned anything since Jennifer and I moved here, it is this: Hastings is an amazing place, filled with wonderfully eclectic, kind people. Many of them work in the local businesses, relying on the daily custom of those of us who live and work here, as well as tourists during the summer season. With genuine uncertainty over how long the pandemic will last, it is up to those of us who live here to help keep these businesses alive.
To their credit, many of them are adapting to the situation and doing their part to not only keep themselves afloat but to support the community in which they belong. Here is a list of some of the businesses that we will be supporting over the coming weeks. If you are local, we would love it if you did too.
- Fika @ 44 – A fantastic café ran by two of the loveliest ladies. Great coffee; great food. Try the ‘dirty chai’ for an extra sweet caffeinated boost. [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Stooge Coffee – Fantastic coffee in a cute tiny shop. At the time of writing, they have taken the decision to do take away only, in support of social distancing. [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Trinity Wholefoods – Next door to Stooge: local organic, fresh produce and a genuine lack of people panic buying! [Update: Open with changed hours and some restrictions – see Instagram.]
- Half Man! Half Burger! – They are open, having taken a range of steps to protect customers and staff. If you haven’t tried the ‘Bean Caught Stealing’ vegan burger you are genuinely missing out! [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Tommy’s Pizzeria – Fantastic Neapolitan style pizza. They are now offering take away, and have also taken steps to protect customers and staff. [Update: Delivery only; here’s the menu.]
- The Marina Fountain – Great pub in St Leonards – good beer and awesome DJ nights! [Update: Closed but they have opened a drive-thru; they have fresh bread, dairy products, dry goods and of course alcohol that you can click and collect.]
- Cake Room – Currently closed for renovations, they are hoping to reopen shortly. Good coffee and outstanding cakes – and Baxter! The cutest dog in Hastings.
- Penbuckles Deli – Ellie and Richard were the first two people to make us welcome when we moved to Hastings. They are salt of the earth folks – Hastings through and through. Very much open. Check them out for coffee, wine, crackers and cheese, and deli meats. [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Judges Bakery – The best bread in town! And cinnamon rolls with lashings of icing on Saturdays! Open and they have started to sell a kit to make bread at home. [Update: Open but with reduced hours and some restrictions.]
- The Crown – One of the best pubs I have ever had the pleasure to drink in. The range of beers is excellent and always changing. They have turned half of the pub into a shop to help locals get hold of essential items, including locally grown eggs, bread, fruit and veg. They are also offering take away beer and food. [Update: Pub and shop closed for the time being.]
- The Albion – A great local pub with many traditional British ales and great pies. Like the Crown, they are also offering home delivery of food and alcohol. [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Porters Wine Bar – Good wine, food and music. Open and also offering a take away menu. [Update: Closed for the time being.]
- Queens Deli – A great deli, with freshly made salt-beef. They have, sadly, but understandably taken the decision to shut in the short term; a two man team, we hope they will be able to reopen soon.
These places and the people who own and work in them are part of the fabric of the town we now call home. They have made us both welcome and exceptionally proud to be part of the community. It is uncertain how long they will be able to remain open, so if you are local, please pop in and buy something to take away or call and place an order for delivery.
Together, as a community, we will survive this.