Worthing Winter Walkabout highlights local businesses ready to welcome shoppers this Christmas

Released: Friday, 11 December 2020

Worthing's independent traders are open and ready to safely welcome shoppers over the festive period.

With the national lockdown restrictions now lifting, Worthing Borough Council's Deputy Leader Cllr Kevin Jenkins took a tour of the town centre to see first hand the significant steps businesses have taken to keep their staff and customers safe.

Winter Welcome AW logo

Forming part of the #WinterWelcomeAW campaign - which is encouraging residents get out and about safely this festive time to support their own wellbeing and the local economy - Cllr Jenkins heard from a range of retailers, including florists, jewelers and cafes.

Central to all the conversations was one thing: the importance that shopping, eating and drinking locally will make to independent traders in this most difficult of years.

First on the list was Sewsilver craft shop, a fixture in the Guildbourne Centre for a decade.

Owner Sam Whittington, who is also chair of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative, said:

“All the independent businesses I know have been bending over backwards to make their premises COVID-safe.

“At Sewsilver we regulate how many people come in. I've had people come in and say they feel so much safer in here than in a supermarket.

“We've already got a fantastic independent offering, we've got some real gems. But all these traders will need your support.”

Photo: Sam Whittington, owner of Sewsilver craft shop, pictured with Cllr Kevin Jenkins

PR20-167 - Sam Whittington, owner of Sewsilver craft shop, pictured with Cllr Kevin Jenkins

This message was echoed by Megan Dooley, co-owner of Finch Bar & Eatery in Warwick Street. She said:

“We've been working hard to make it as comfortable as we can for people. If you feel comfortable coming out, support your local businesses safely and use your common sense.”

Photo: Megan Dooley, co-owner of Finch Bar & Eatery, with Cllr Kevin Jenkins

PR20-167 - Megan Dooley, co-owner of Finch Bar & Eatery, with Cllr Kevin Jenkins

Shseela Thiruchelvam, owner of Spiral jewellery shop in the Montague Quarter, has also been working hard to ensure customers feel safe, taking temperatures and sanitising items if they have been touched. She said:

“A lot of our customers are vulnerable, and they've told us they really appreciate how much effort we've made to make our shop as safe as possible so they can support us.

“I would absolutely encourage people to come and support the local economy. Now isn't about making a profit, it's about paying the bills and the staff.”

Photo: Shseela Thiruchelvam, owner of Spiral jewellery shop, testing Cllr Kevin Jenkins' temperature

PR20-167 - Shseela Thiruchelvam, owner of Spiral jewellery shop, testing Cllr Kevin Jenkins' temperature

In Montague Place, Porto's Flowers owner Isabel Spavins told Cllr Jenkins independent businesses make a difference on the High Street. She said:

“We've been getting a good positive feeling for our customers, they want to support local businesses but be careful at the same time.

“There's been so much news about big chains closing, but there's been a lack of positive news about small businesses. We make a real difference in this town.”

Finally Cllr Jenkins stopped off at zero-waste food shop Larder in the western end of Montague Street.

Anna Feltha, of the business, said:

“We stock things you can't get in a supermarket. We try as much as possible to source local products. We've been open throughout lockdown, we're a saviour for some people.

“We do our risk assessments and we have a limit on how many customers can come in. Everyone's been really respectful and it's working really well.

“People need to support local shops otherwise we're not going to exist. It's as simple as that.”

After his walkabout, Cllr Jenkins, also the Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, said:

“Speaking to businesses, it's clear they have been working really hard to create COVID-safe environments.

“With so much news of larger chains struggling and closing, small businesses are filling those gaps. Our independent businesses offer something different and unique that you can't get online or at chains.

“Christmas is an important time for independent traders, so I would really encourage people to come down and see what gems Worthing has to offer.”

The Town Centre Initiative, Time for Worthing and the Council are also working together to put on a number of events to bring some festive cheer to the town centre, including a town centre trails featuring toy soldiers and Christmas trees.

Full details can be found on our:

or click on the hashtag #WinterWelcomeAW on social media.

Video: Cllr Kevin Jenkins' walk about in Worthing town centre

(PR20-167)

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Page last updated: 01 March 2021