These are enormously difficult times for our rural communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought huge economic challenges for the whole country to over-come, but nowhere is its impact more keenly felt than in those communities which rely on farming and agriculture, as well as rural tourism.

The unprecedented situation of people being told to stay at home has had a huge knock-on effect.

Farmers whose supply of fresh produce is traditionally eagerly taken by retailers has this year largely gone to waste.

The lack of demand, caused by people stockpiling long-life food and not venturing out to buy fresh as they usually do has seen major repercussions, with many farms seeing vast drops in income.

Those businesses which rely on tourism have usually by now enjoyed a successful Easter, with families travelling from across the country to enjoy the beautiful rural surroundings we are so lucky to have here.

This year, the ban on all but essential travel has seen these tourism hotspots deserted, and the businesses within them often forced to close due to lack of demand.

Holiday lets are traditionally seeing a peak booking period around this time of year, with seasonal workers being recruited heavily in preparation for a busy summer, but for 2020, we simply do not know what lies ahead.

At the time of writing, we have no idea whether lockdown will be lifted to the extent that tourism will be possible this year.

Many businesses which employ staff have placed some on furlough leave, through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, which seeks to protect the roles of employees in the hope they can return to work once the pandemic has passed.

While this is of course a welcome boost, for many businesses, particularly those which are wholly reliant on their seasonal income, the future sadly remains very uncertain.

We are acutely aware of these varied challenges faced by our rural communities at the minute, and we have specialists across the firm at Sintons who can help.

Our specialist team at Sintons is one of the most experienced and capable in the region and has supported families and businesses through many challenges during our 124 year history.

We are absolutely committed to helping our communities get through the Covid-19 pandemic in every way we can.

l Tom Wills is head of agriculture and estates at Sintons. He and the team continue to work as normal during the pandemic and are contactable at all times.

Please contact Tom on or (0191) 226 3796.