A Message from Our Chair, Judy Bell

Dear Members, Patrons and Supporters,

As we draw towards the end of 2020, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the year, to celebrate some of the successes, and look ahead to 2021.

At the start of January, we could not have imagined what a rollercoaster year 2020 would be for all of us, both personally and professionally.  The impacts of COVID have been far reaching and for many it has fundamentally changed the way we think about and do business.  Everyone has been tested and challenged, sometimes to the limit, but I am heartened to see so many of our members show incredible creativity to adapt, innovate, and show the true Yorkshire grit, determination and resilience that defines strong businesses.

We understand that businesses have had to make incredibly tough decisions and for some the path ahead remains fraught. Deliciouslyorkshire continues to offer our support to and champion those in the industry who need it.  Despite the immense challenges we have seen many examples of businesses working collaboratively across the industry to support each other, their local communities, and the wider community. You have gone above and beyond to ensure that your families, staff and customers are safe, and no one could ask more of you. 

In terms of Deliciouslyorkshire’s response based on the feedback we received we too have had to pivot and look to support our members proactively in different ways.  At times like this effective communication is even more critical so we have been proactive in our communication on the website, in the member and consumer newsletters and across our social channels. We have worked hard to communicate the help and support that has been, and continues to be, available to businesses in the region, both from Government and local bodies and agencies. Importantly we have significantly increased our social media activity, with the aim of further raising awareness of our member activity and the ‘support local’ message. Some of that activity has included a May Giveaway campaign and the ever popular Advent Giveaway on Twitter, and the hugely successful Lockdown Legends Awards.

We received a high number of entries for the Lockdown Legends in both the Business and Community categories making for very tough judging to reach a shortlist, and we were delighted with the response and engagement from the public. There were literally thousands of votes cast! The stories behind each of the shortlisted businesses were inspiring with the ultimate winners being Bert’s Barrow in the Business category and Lawns Farm Shop in the Community category, so bravo to our ‘Lockdown Legends’  

After Lockdown Legends in light of the ongoing level of uncertainty, and to ensure we were adhering to government guidelines, after consultation with our incredible sponsors we took the difficult decision to postpone the Deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards. Our commitment to recognise the very best of Yorkshire food and drink remains resolute and we plan to have the Awards back bigger and brighter in 2021 – and boy will we all be ready to reconnect and celebrate our fantastic food and drink and people behind it! 

Behind the scenes we have continued to work very hard with key stakeholders both in the region and across the UK, including our Patron Members, Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the LEPS, Grow Yorkshire, DIT and DEFRA. Our aim has been to understand and communicate where resources are available to support you and to help give small and micro businesses in the sector a voice. In that regard we are delighted to announce our role as founding members of Food From England. https://www.foodfromengland.co.uk/ This is a federation of Regional Food Groups and other food focused organisations such as the Guild of Fine Food. Its purpose is to give England’s food and drink industry a strong collective voice in the wake of Covid-19 and Brexit whilst encouraging the consumer to shop local, think local and support local. We are also delighted to announce our partnership with the food waste app, Too Good To Go. This is a fantastic initiative supporting your sustainability agenda by tackling food waste whilst at the same time helping you recover sunk costs. Register here https://bit.ly/2IUTdZ9b  and your first year fee of £39 + VAT will be waived.

As our thoughts turn to 2021, we are hoping to be able to reintroduce our face to face networking events, government guidelines permitting and if not we will turn our attention to some virtual events.

I would like to say a huge thanks to our Patron Members, Garbutt & Elliott, Reed Boardall and Yorkshire Media, we are indebted to them for their continued support. It has been a challenging time for Deliciouslyorkshire too as we have tried to continue to offer the best possible support to our members. We cannot stress enough how much your continued support is vital to what we do – without your membership and the generosity of our Patron Members we simply would not be able to survive. So, our request to you – if you value what we offer to you as a business and wider the food and drink community, and you know another business that would also benefit please encourage them to join the DY family. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it really is that we are stronger together.

Our message from earlier in the year remains the same – Deliciouslyorkshire are here for you so don’t be afraid to ask for help and support and we will do our best to deliver.  If there is anything that we can do for you to help you through the current challenges, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01423 546200 or by email to team@deliciouslyorkshire.co.uk

On behalf of the DY Board and team I would like to wish you and your families a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and hope that you are able to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Here’s to 2021!

Warmest Wishes

Judy Bell, MBE

Judy Bell, MBE

Judy Bell, Chair of Deliciouslyorkshire