THE COMMUNITY effort from Haltwhistle businesses and volunteers has been praised for continuing to deliver vital services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mounting uncertainty around the future of the local economy has seen an increased demand in the produce of independent local businesses.

Cameron Bell from food store Billy Bells said the business had experienced an increase in demand from the local community during the lockdown.

“We’re surviving and continuing to trade by working around the clock to serve our customers,” he said.

“The increase in demand has seen us working flat out. Last week, I was working from 5am to 8pm.”

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, Cameron said the prices for supplies had increased, but that was to be expected in the current times.

He added: “We have seen a lot of local people taking advantage of our home delivery service.

“Hopefully those customers who are using the shop for the first time during the lockdown will continue to do so after the lockdown is lifted.”

Coun. Margaret Forrest, a long serving member of Haltwhistle Town Council, heaped praised on the work of the store throughout the community.

"They all need medals the size of frying pans,” she said. “The work they are doing is unbelievable.”

Amy Baugh, from Haltwhistle Butchers, said the store continues to trade despite the shop being closed to the public.

She said: “There is just myself taking the orders and Paul Baugh butchering and delivering to a wider area. We just recently brought back our other butcher David Dodd and local resident Andy Crawford volunteered to help deliver our meat packages to the community.”

An army of volunteers is contributing to a Haltwhistle community response team, set up on Facebook in March when the Government introduced lockdown measures, carrying out essential food and medication deliveries for neighbours. Steve Smith, the group’s administrator, said: “I am pleased with how it’s going, it seems to be filling the need of people around the town, and it’s great that so many people are willing to help. "Haltwhistle is a very connected place, there’s already an amazing network of people and we’re just doing our best to help. “