Totally ready to welcome you in 2021

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
January 2021

Retailers in the town of Brigg are getting ready to hit the ground running as restrictions ease in the coming months, with small businesses working on new initiatives to share ideas and expertise. By Melanie Burton.

“Shops are open, they have been doing deliveries to support customers through this [pandemic] but what we have got to do now is build people’s confidence up to come back into town,” says chair of the Brigg Business Town Partnership Deb Dunderdale, who also manages Brigg’s Deli & Diner in Wrawby Street.

Brigg has a great selection of independent shops, offering visitors and residents a huge choice of gifts, fashion, homewares and daily essentials, as well as great value and friendly customer service.

The Brigg Town Business Partnership was formed in 2011 to support local independent traders, ensure that shopping in the traditional market town remains an experience to remember and to safeguard the variety of local shops with the character of the town.

Supported by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s national ‘Shop Local’ promotion, the Partnership aims to reinvigorate the local economy and safeguard jobs while bringing shoppers the very best in local food and produce.

As part of the campaign the Partnership organised a series of events to take place throughout the year including the traditional pump blessing festival, summer events and markets. But they were all put on hold because of the pandemic.

“We are looking forward to this year and have a few things in the pipeline from April,” said Deb. “Really no-one can plan anything in front at the moment but we are hoping to hold the pump blessing festival and some sort of summer fayre.

“There are a lot of different shops in Brigg but many are older generation and are not so technologically-minded. Some haven’t got a Facebook page and the Business Partnership is trying to get some of those businesses an online presence so that if anything like this happens again we can be ready.

“Click and collect is the best way to do that because people have to come into town to pick up what they have bought.”

Another scheme supporting traders in the town is Totally Locally which is the UK’s biggest grass roots High Street campaign aimed at independent businesses whether bricks and mortar or online.

It started out as a small idea in Calderdale in 2010 and has grown into a multi-award-winning worldwide movement. The idea is to work together as local businesses to create a fun and compelling reason for people to support their local businesses in Brigg where possible.

“It is more than just a Shop Local campaign – it’s all about collaboration,” explained Nick Webb from the Rabbit Hole bookshop, who put Brigg on the Totally Locally map with Sara Kendall from the town’s Yellowbelly Pizza Company.

“You have to be an independent business but you don’t need to have bricks and mortar, you can be an online independent. But it is all about working together so people who want to work together can,” Nick explained.

“We have been trying it for two to three years but the crunch has come where you can’t sit in the shop anymore and wait for business to come. You have to do something.

“Because the public hasn’t been able to go very far and they are a bit cautious about going to the likes of Meadowhall, Totally Locally is a way of getting out of this and we have to be prepared for when the shoppers get back into town.”

One of Totally Locally’s initiatives which has proved to work well is its Fiver Fest Fortnight.

“It brings people to Brigg seeking out five pound offers and is a great way to attract new customers,” Nick said. “It works even better when more businesses participate as it creates a more exciting proposition to shoppers.”

Plans are in the pipeline for the next one to be held in February.

JOB SUPPORT SCHEMES
Non-retail businesses also suffered more than their fair share during the two lockdowns and high tier restrictions of 2020. But more than £6m has been made available to support local businesses and protect jobs going into the New Year.

More than £2.5m was available for businesses which had to close due to the imposition of restrictions and a discretionary fund of almost £3.5m was available to help other businesses.

Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Rob Waltham, said: “The Government support for people, jobs and businesses in cash terms is estimated to be more than £100m for North Lincolnshire when furlough is included.

“These unprecedented times have called for unprecedented support and the majority of this funding was provided direct to businesses and paid to local people.”

The Job Support Scheme was also introduced to protect the local economy with the Government providing the majority of employees’ pay if they had their hours reduced. In addition the furlough scheme which helped protect people’s jobs was extended until March.

The Kickstart support scheme was another scheme launched by Government to help dozens of young people from across North Lincolnshire get a foot on the jobs ladder. Thirty businesses signed up with more than 70 new jobs created under the scheme which sees the Government fund six-month work placements for 16-to-24 year olds claiming Universal Credit.

Councillor Waltham said: “It is great that we have such a number of local businesses already signed up to this scheme. This is a real positive step forward towards us all building back stronger and will give our young people some fantastic opportunities to get into work, gain experience and benefit from the scheme.

“The backing from Government is the latest in a long list of support which will support the economy through Covid-19 and beyond.”

North Lincolnshire Council will run the Kickstart Gateway. As well as paying the young person’s salary for 25 hours a week, the Government also provides £1,500 for help to cover other expenses such as uniform and training.

INDEPENDENT EYE CARE SPECIALIST WELCOMES NEW CLIENTS
O’Briens Opthalmic Opticians are the longest established, independent eye care specialists in Brigg and champions of sourcing high quality, hand-made frames and lenses from the best independent manufacturers in the UK and abroad. Leading names include Nikon Lenswear and Zeiss.

Dr Sheeraz Janjua has been heading the practice since 2003. During this time he has built a substantial patient base and excellent reputation offering North Lincolnshire’s best service for those with the most challenging eye conditions.

Recently the practice has embraced a group of new clients from Kirton Lindsey. After the retirement of long established optometrist Garry Crome of Kirton Lindsey Opticians, O’Briens now hold these client records and are ready to provide the same high quality, independent service when they travel to Brigg.

Dr Janjua completed his doctorate in 2017, one of only 25 opticians in the UK to complete the course while in practice.

“My research related to the effects of diet on dry eye syndrome, which was correlated with other data from across the UK by scientists at Aston University,” explained Dr Janjua. “The diet within our county area can be fish oil deficient which was shown to affect the condition. We now offer a Dry Eye Treatment Plan to patients as one of the changes they can implement to help alleviate symptoms of the condition.”

In 2016 Dr Janjua introduced specialist lenses from the USA for people with vision loss related to glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration (AMD). These special, prismatic lenses can change the direction of light to alternative healthier parts of the retina. Combined with a special filter to improve contrast, they have been a huge success. The practice can now also supply revolutionary lenses that use a built-in mesh in the lens to improve the vision for those who struggle to see very well – especially at night.

“We see many patients with conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retina disorders,” explained Dr Janjua. “Prescribing specialist lenses, including high prismatic ones from America or specific contrast filters can ensure the optimum improvement in vision and quality of lifestyle for our patients.”

These specialisms are perhaps unusual to find in a historic Lincolnshire market town but Dr Janjua’s work has been recognised by local eye surgeons and within the industry. In 2017 he was nominated, shortlisted and came runner-up in the UK Optician Awards and in 2018 he was runner-up for the title of Optometrist of the Year.

Patients can be referred via GP surgeries, eye clinics and Lindsey Blind Society while others make an independent decision to travel to Brigg for their diagnosis and eye care.

If you would benefit from a comprehensive and individual consultation on the health of your eyes and vision contact O’Briens Opthalmic Opticians on 01652 653595 or visit: www.obriensopticians.co.uk

LA FINCA SERVES UP A TASTE OF SPAIN
La Finca opened more than a year ago with a special Tapas Evening, and since then the restaurant has bucked the trend.

Located in the stunning glass atrium of the former Angel in the Market Place in Brigg, the décor features huge basket lighting, palm trees and chandeliers, creating a unique venue, transporting you back to unforgettable Spanish alfresco dining.

Diners experience fixed menu traditional tapas evenings on pre-booked set dates each month, featuring amazing platter boards as starters, with cured meats, cheeses, olives and artisan breads, continuing with a selection of tapas dishes brought to your table to share.

This social eating experience gives the customers a table for the evening, with La Finca providing an insight into Spain, its food and drink.

Having spent more than 17 years sampling tapas dishes, Paul and Beryl Keane have gained a unique insight into rural Spain and Paul felt it was time to introduce a slice of España to North Lincolnshire.

“There are no other specialist Spanish restaurants locally,” Paul explained. “Our local chef has travelled to Spain regularly over the past 30 years and has extensive knowledge of its cuisine.”

Moving forward, Paul and his team have introduced exciting additions to the themed evenings, with paella nights (large pans cooked in front of you), which have proved popular with bookings weeks in advance, and more themed evenings planned. The restaurant also includes a quirky licensed bar serving Spanish beers and wine.

Search Facebook ‘La Finca Brigg’ for upcoming events or Tel: 01652 657900.

RAIL SERVICES
A bid for £50,000 of Government cash to explore the re-opening of train services along the Brigg line has been successful.

A feasibility study can now start to examine the benefits of re-opening passenger train services along the Barton, Brigg and Gainsborough route.

Councillor Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We are delighted that the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund panel has approved the first stage of our application.

“This is a real show of confidence in our ambitious plans, not only to re-establish passenger services but to increase them.

“As well as further improving connectivity between three of North Lincolnshire’s vibrant market towns, the re-opening would carry huge economic benefits, opening up employment opportunities and supporting our visitor economy whilst also supporting our ambitions for clean growth.

“We are still in the early phases of the process but the signals are extremely positive; the application is on track for the next stage of the process.”

Currently the Brigg, Kirton and Gainsborough line only runs passenger services on Saturdays. The Barton line is hampered by a section which is freight-only.

TOTALLY LOCALLY
Nick Webb of The Rabbit Hole bookshop started Totally Locally in Brigg a couple of years ago with the help of Sara Kendall of the Yellowbelly Pizza Co, and is focusing on going forward positively in 2021.

“We ran a small stall on Brigg Market every week to be a part of the community and asked the local council if we could try an indie market one Saturday,” said Nick. “So far two have been successful and Totally Locally will be able to support this type of event and much more in the future.”

Sara Kendall of the Yellowbelly Pizza Company said: “Looking to 2021, taking part in the Totally Locally grassroots initiative will be important. It’s such a simple but clever and effective scheme that puts independent retailers and the community they operate in at its heart.

“We opened in the summer of 2019 and after Brigg was accepted to be part of the TL scheme, we joined in with ‘Fiver Fest’. Its power lies in numbers; the more independent shops that take part, the better a shopping experience it will be and the more customers it will attract, therefore benefitting everyone involved.

“As long as 2021 allows us to operate our usual eat-in facility, we plan to create a more Mediterranean feel with diners eating and drinking outside in Brigg’s historic market place. After this year, it’s hard to imagine how 2021 may look but we hope by offering our handmade sourdough pizzas in a relaxed setting we might help to add to Brigg’s attraction.”



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