#WelcomeBackAW: Support your town centres post-lockdown
Welcome back - that's the key message from town centre traders as our community spaces look to bounce back from lockdown.
Adur & Worthing Councils have joined forces with businesses across the area to assure visitors that all efforts are being made to make shopping, going out and relaxing in our town centres a safe and relaxing experience.
A month-long campaign - titled #WelcomeBackAW - features a dozen businesses and organisations and the measures they have taken to adapt to the new normal.
Click below to read how some of our local businesses are adapting to make sure their premises are safe and welcoming for customers post-lockdown ...
#WelcomeBackAW is part of “And Then ... Bouncing back in post pandemic Adur and Worthing”, the Councils' short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.
If you're a local business or organisation looking for advice on making your workplace safe post-lockdown visit our extensive Business Advice page.
“The way the businesses have coped with the requirements of Covid - they have gone the extra mile.”
That was the take-out message from Cllr Dave Simmons, Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing for Adur District Council following his recent visit to Southwick Square to chat to local traders and about how they've been welcoming back their customers.
His first stop was Southwicksquare Meats to chat to John Burtenshall and Michael Forrest who set up an ordering system and doorstep collection service so they could continue to support their customers throughout the pandemic.
Next, he spoke to Ying Winder at Koh Koh, 15 Southwick Square, which reopened again at the end of July and offers a safe and sweet-smelling welcome to customers in need of a chocolate treat.
At Coopers Jewellers, Cllr Simmons chatted to owner Simon Cooper and son Oliver about the measures they've put in place to keep staff and visitors safe, before heading next door to talk to Tom Murphy, employee of Southwick Square Barbers, who described a never-ending queue of customers in need of a haircut when they first re-opened.
Cllr Simmon's final visit was to the fish and chip, The Plaice in the Square, to talk to husband and wife Theo and Loula Argyrou who have put a range of measures in place to keep their customers safe.
With a wide-range of shops to visit in the Square, Cllr Simmons encourages people to support this essential part of Southwick. He said:
“If you're sensible and follow the guidelines, there's no reason why you shouldn't be giving local businesses time and purchasing your items there.”
“Businesses of all natures have taken real measures to step up to make the town safe.”
That was the key take out for Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing's Executive Member for Regeneration following his town centre walkabout when he chatted to local traders about the measures they've put in place to welcome back their customers.
Starting off in Montague Street West, Cllr Jenkins popped into a long-standing local business, Greenfingers Florist. They've been in Worthing since 1987. He then headed to Bath Place to visit one of Worthing's best known shops i love candy before popping into the cafe next door, Bungaroosh.
Next on his route was Montague Quarter to visit the football paraphernalia shop, Saturday 3pm. They recently moved from The Royal Arcade to their new premises, Cllr Jenkins' final visit was to welcome start-up business, Lucifers Cafe Bar in Portland Road to Worthing.
Cllr Jenkins, who praises Worthing for its mix of cafes, restaurants and independent shops, says:
“There's a real air of confidence to come into the town. It's time to come back and enjoy our town again.”
With new exhibitions on display every couple of weeks, Worthing's Colonnade House has become a firm favourite for art lovers in town.
And despite closing for a few weeks due to Covid, the gallery at the corner of Warwick Street and High Street is back open again, showcasing a range of quality work crafted by local artists.
The galleries reopened to the public in mid June in line with the government's relaxation of restrictions for high street businesses.
A range of safety measures have been introduced, such as restrictions on numbers of people entering, regular cleaning of touchpoints and wearing of masks. All of this was recognised in the awarding of the national 'Good to Go' scheme kitemark for tourism.
The doors are also kept open to allow air to circulate while those passing are welcome to view the artwork from the pavement outside, if they choose.
Clare Halstead, who manages the Worthing Borough Council-owned venue, said:
“People were delighted to be able to come inside and enjoy our exhibitions. We have carried on with our exhibition programme since then, and it's been great to be able to reschedule a number of the exhibitions that we had to cancel earlier in the year.”
See also: Colonnade House website
Photo: Joe Cox and Clare Halstead outside Colonnade House in Worthing welcoming you back
“It's great to be back open and see people returning to the village again.”
Paul Stannard founded Colourfull Kitchens back in 2011 as a way to offer customers a bespoke way to transform their home.
A key part of the offer is a retail unit in South Street, Lancing. This allows people the chance to pick from more 100,000 colours when thinking about upgrading their property.
So when the government eased restrictions to allow the reopening of retail shops, the company were keen to make the premises as safe and welcoming as they could.
Zoë Imbimbo, who is the office manager, has overseen the introduction of a range of safety measures in the shop. This includes a protective screen, supply of hand sanitiser and wearing of masks. Zoë said:
“The majority of our customers ring ahead and book appointments which means we can ensure we limit numbers in our shop. For the passing trade, we always are willing to offer people an appointment or even take the conversation outside - whatever we can do to make things easier for our customers we will.”
See also: Colourfull Kitchens website
Photo: Zoë Imbimbo and Paul Stannard welcoming you back to Colourfull Kitchens in Lancing
Founded in 2018 and based in vibrant Warwick Street in Worthing town centre, Finch Bar & Eatery has introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of their customers and staff.
As owner Tom Lines, who also owns the Garden Pantry in Brighton Road, explains:
“We're lucky to have outdoor seating, but for those who prefer to sit indoors, we've created plenty of space between our tables to make it safe. There's also hand sanitiser by the entrance for customers to use, we're currently offering table service only, and all our staff wear face coverings when serving customers.”
Since reopening, Finch Bar & Eatery has been busier than expected - as well as welcoming back many regular customers, they've had lots of new customers too.
“We've worked hard to make sure that the quality of food and the customer experience won't be compromised by the changes,” says Tom.
Finch, which is open Monday to Sunday, is part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. This means that throughout August, from Monday to Wednesday, customers will get 50% off their food and drink.
See also: Finch Bar & Eatery on Facebook
Photo: Tom Lines, right, and the Finch Bar and Eatery team are supporting#WelcomeBackAW and welcoming you back
Tucked away in Bath Street in Worthing town centre, hairdresser Shaun Slater Gould couldn't wait to welcome back customers. But first they wanted to make sure that they had everything in place to ensure the safety of customers and his staff.
Shaun, who runs the salon with his wife Julie, said:
“It feels amazing to be back after nearly four months of being closed. Our customers can look forward to getting a great haircut or colour in a safe environment.”
Shaun Slater Gould is one of a number of businesses in Adur and Worthing that have gone the extra mile with the measures they've put in place to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. This includes:
Clients' temperatures are taken as they enter the salon
Hand sanitiser available at reception and throughout the salon
All staff wear face shields
Customers wear face masks during their appointment
Limited the capacity in the salon to maintain social distancing.
Shaun and Julie put the time they salon was closed to good use and spent weeks redecorating and preparing for re-opening.
“Our staff couldn't wait to get back to work - it's been great to be able to welcome them and our customers back to our now very stylish, clean and modern salon.”
See also: Shaun Slater Gould hairdressers website
Photo: Shaun Slater Gould welcoming you back
“Home cooked food, sourced from local suppliers, cask marque kept local ales and beers, and most importantly a friendly atmosphere where safe service is a priority.”
Darren Gearing, Founder & Director of Our Eating House Group, explains what's in store for customers returning to The Tap House.
The venue in East Street, Shoreham, has recently reopened, along with the group's other venues - The Beach House and The Corner House, which are both in Worthing.
Darren, who owns the businesses with lifelong friends Matt and Tim Taylor, says his local establishments are doing everything they can to keep customers safe.
All team members have undertaken “COVID Return to Work” protocol training while socially distanced tables, hand sanitiser stations, one way signage systems, contactless payments and increased cleaning have been introduced.
All three locations will be taking part in the government's Eat Out To Help Out discount programme, and they are also offering an added value set menu for adults and children. Darren added:
“Our teams couldn't wait to get back to work, we are also fortunate to have many regulars who have all said how happy they are to be back!”
See also: The Tap House website
Photo: The team at Tap House in Shoreham supporting the #WelcomeBackAW campaign and welcoming you back
“We are working twice as hard as we were for half our usual custom due to social distancing measures. We are getting great feedback from customers about the atmosphere still being great and that they feel safe in our environment.”
John Azzopardi co-owner of the Brooksteed Alehouse, in Worthing says it feels good to be back open.
The Brooksteed Alehouse, on South Farm Road, recently won the Trip Adviser Travellers Choice Award 2020, for the third consecutive year and focuses on focus quality, traditional drinks in a quiet atmosphere that promotes conversation and socialising.
As lockdown began to lift, the Brooksteed Alehouse team put a full COVID -19 risk assessment in place, starting with reducing the overall capacity in the pub to ensure social distancing. The team introduced screens between tables and around our bar area, as well as a hand wash station at the door as you wait to be seated and hand gel on all tables. The bar staff are operating full table service, with customers, ordering using their smartphones or tablets, so customers are encouraged to book a table, although those walking in are still welcome. All tables are cleaned thoroughly between customers, and all communal areas are regularly cleaned. Customers will also notice all staff will be wearing masks and gloves.
The micro pub is reintroducing food pop ups and working closely with their new food neighbours, they offer Villaggio Woodier Pizza every Tuesday evening with more offerings on the horizon to come ...
Just before lockdown the Brooksteed developed their own Brooksteed 'Sussex Dry' gin with the Madame Jennifer Distillery in Hove. It flew off the shelves during lockdown and continues to be a hugely popular tipple.
John said they're delighted to be back open and have been very encouraged by the positive response from customers and was glad to see other businesses close by welcoming back visitors:
“We have a beautiful unspoilt beach and seafront as well as a burgeoning independent food and drink scene. Of course we want people to head North of the Station and visit the Brooksteed and everything South Farm Road has to offer as well as exploring the rest of the town.”
See also: The Brooksteed Alehouse website
Photo: Aaron Burns with John Azzopardi welcoming you back to The Brooksteed Alehouse, Worthing
With several blockbuster films lined up for the summer months, visitors to The Dome Cinema in Worthing can look forward to sitting back and taking a well-earned break from reality.
The Dome, which sits on Worthing seafront and is one of Britain's oldest cinemas, has reopened its doors and is inviting customers to enjoy a movie in a safe and welcoming environment.
“It feels great to be back and see people excited about watching a film on the big screen again and immerse themselves in a different world for a couple of hours, said Ross McLaughlin, manager of The Dome.
“To ensure the safety of our customers and staff, we have temperature checks on the doors, a one way system in place, additional cleaning, staggered film times, staff wearing face coverings and gloves when serving food, and all customers have to wear face masks.”
Visitors to The Dome can enjoy some great offers, including Bargain Monday, where tickets are just £3.50. Combine with a meal at one of the many restaurants which are participating in the #EatOutToHelpOut scheme, for an enjoyable evening out in Worthing.
See also: The Dome Cinema website
Photo: Entrance door to Screen 1 at The Dome Cinema in Worthing
Traditional, family, Cypriot cooking and a friendly, welcoming team await at the The Fat Greek Taverna on Portland Road in Worthing.
“Like everyone we take the pandemic very very seriously. It has affected all of us which is why we have put in measures in our restaurants to make them safe and help our customers have a relaxing, fun time out.”
Andy Sparsis, founder of Proto Restaurant Group which owns The Fish Factory and The Fat Greek Taverna, said he's delighted with the feedback they've received from regulars, and new visitors alike since reopening.
There's plenty going on at the Taverna, which is designed especially with its kitchens on show so you can experience the Cypriot flavour, smell and sounds.
As well as taking part in the national Eat Out To Help Out Scheme, The Fat Greek Taverna is also offering 15% off all it's delicious desserts and has a £9 Express Lunch Menu to give you every opportunity to “eat like a Greek” and right on its doorstep you'll find its commissioned piece of street art, the largest in the UK, proudly announcing they're back the game!
While fantastic food, fun and friendly atmosphere are at the heart of what The Fat Greek Taverna offer, they're placing just as much focus on keeping customers safe.
The restaurant is being thoroughly deep cleaned daily, with additional professional ULV cold fogging. The team have all completed COVID19 Infection Prevention and PPE training, and are monitored with temperature checks to ensure they are well. On arrival you'll see sanitising gel available for all customers.
The Fat Greek Taverna team are backing #WelcomeBackAW and are glad to show visitors they will take good care of them, Andy said:
“This campaign will give us all the chance to tell residents just how seriously we are taking their safety and I welcome it.”
See also: The Fat Greek Taverna website
Photo: Andy Sparsis welcomes you back to the Fat Greek Taverna in Worthing
“It is amazing to be back! Initially we were very cautious and worried about whether we would be able to replicate the 'Tom Foolery' experience within the new 'normal' and whether the customers would return. They did and we have had the most wonderful reception.”
Since opening in 2014, Tom Foolery has been a vibrant presence on Shoreham's High Street offering customers great coffee and a range of local produce.
But the COVID pandemic has seen owners Bob and Vanessa McCulloch transform the way their venue does business. As Bob explains:
“We realised that trying to run a normal service would be a real challenge and we wanted to make sure our customers felt safe. We decided to move our counter to the front of the shop and we decorated it up to have a Festival Food Truck feel. We also offer Click and Collect which enables us to prepare a customers order completely so there is no hanging around when they come to pick it up.”
This change in approach is also supported with a range of safety measures, such as staff wearing visors, chefs wearing gloves, handwashing at least every 20 minutes, hand sanitiser stations and tables spaced out to support social distancing.
Bob said he had already seen a great response from customers and was confident the town centre would continue to be supported by locals and visitors alike. He said:
“We are huge fans of Shoreham having lived here for almost 22 years. Is there anywhere else that has so much? It is a unique and wonderful place with an amazing community who genuinely looks out for each other. We love it here and feel that it is the perfect home for a bit of Tom Foolery.”
See also: Tom Foolery website
Photo: Bob McCulloch welcomes you back to Tom Foolery
After a short break for the winter, the Worthing Observation Wheel is back on the seafront offering visitors the chance to a birds eye view of the town, downs and beautiful West Sussex coastline. As operator Jan de Koning says:
“It really is a fantastic feeling for all of us working at the WOW to be back in Worthing and finally back to some semblance of normality.”
More than 40,000 people took a ride on the largest observation wheel on the south coast last year - and, after a series of safety measures introduced, the 46-metre high attraction is ready to welcome people back.
To keep customers safe, social distance queuing and protected payment systems have been introduced while only people from the same group are allowed in carriages.
There are plenty of hand sanitiser stations, gloves are provided to those who would like them and there is enhanced cleaning of the facilities. Meanwhile staff have completed extra training and wear PPE, such as face and hand coverings.
All of this is helping reassure customers that they will have a safe and enjoyable experience.
This year, the private operators have introduced a new VIP gondola ticket which allows up to six people to ride for just £35.
- Go online to the Worthing Wheel website to buy tickets
- Find out more about the Worthing Wheel - FAQs
Photo: Preparing the Worthing Observation Wheel on Worthing seafront to welcome back visitors