‘We’re ready to help’ - Cromer causes and businesses rising to lockdown challenge

Richard Groom, of Coffee Therapy, thinks a second lockdowns was 'inevitable'.

Richard Groom, of Coffee Therapy, thinks a second lockdowns was 'inevitable'. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

An organisation which helped hundreds of vulnerable people in and around Cromer during the first lockdown has said it is ready to support the community again a second time around.

Red Lion Pub in Cromer.

Red Lion Pub in Cromer. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

At the height of lockdown, Cromer Cares, which was set up by town councillor Tim Adams to support vulnerable people during the pandemic, was helping 1,500 households in the seaside town and surrounding villages.

Now, as the country prepares to enter a second national lockdown, Mr Adams has said the organisation is prepared to support people again.

He said as initial lockdown restrictions eased, need for support from Cromer Cares lessened, but the group was preparing for demand to increase again.

Mr Adams said: “We don’t really know what to expect, but we have already built up quite a few processes with local pharmacies and businesses and they have been operational in the last few weeks.

Tim Adams, who set up Cromer Cares to help vulnerable people during the pandemic Photo: Jessica Fran

Tim Adams, who set up Cromer Cares to help vulnerable people during the pandemic Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes - Credit: Archant

“So far it’s so good but we want to ready ourselves for another peak in demand. We are registering slowly to be a charity to help people in hardship and that’s really the work we’ve been doing in the last two weeks.

“About 250 households have continued to receive help so hopefully we won’t see a vast increase but I want us to be ready.”

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Mr Adams said although people were now used to living with the threat of coronavirus and new lockdown restrictions were less stringent than in March, winter posed a different set of challenges.

“People are frustrated and upset, it affects people’s mental health and it’s refocused people’s minds but I’m hoping that low infection rates will continue in the North Norfolk area,” he said.

Elsewhere in the town, Callum Stuart, the landlord and co-owner of the Red Lion on Brook Street, said after a good half-term he was “not that bothered” by a second lockdown.

Mr Stuart said: “I’m not that bothered really, I’m just pleased we had a good half-term. Revenue just drops off a cliff for us [in November] anyway, so having half-term has really helped.”

The landlord said the furlough scheme was good for his business but the uncertainty around when the second lockdown would end was a concern.

Mr Stuart said: “It’s the unknown of whether we will open for Christmas and on a personal note if I will be able to see family, are things going to be the same for a long time?”

He said entering lockdown for a second time and been a lot less stressful than in March, partly because he and his suppliers knew what to expect and had been given notice to prepare.

“One hundred percent this time has been really easy, we’ve got furlough letters all ready, we know what we need to do. I think one on the best things [Boris Johnson] has done is that he didn’t just go ‘right you have got to close’,” he said.

Mr Stuart said his staff were also looking forward to a rest.

“The staff seem really ready for some time off, everybody in hospitality has worked 10pc harder this year and haven’t had a break.

“Because we had a really good summer we’re positive about getting through to March and it’s always been about getting through to March, we’re not overly concerned to be honest.”

MORE: Quiet after the rush - How a Norfolk town has changed since second lockdown startedRain and cold temperatures kept Cromer’s high street relatively quiet on Tuesday, with some businesses having already taken the decision to close ahead of lockdown.

Richard Groom, owner of Coffee Therapy in Church Street, echoed Mr Stuart’s positivity about half-term and said he was unsurprised by the announcement of a second lockdown.

He said: “We knew it was coming, it was inevitable. Half-term was good and that was really what pulled lots of visitors to Cromer but that’s pretty much dropped off now.

“I think people are alright about [lockdown]. There’s still a lot of stuff going to be open things are not as dire as the first time around.”

• Cromer Cares supports families across north Norfolk and can be contacted on 01263 512254.