The Island Makers - Response to Covid-19
Living on the Isles of Scilly has its perks - a beach around every corner, the turquoise sea, and the unspoiled scenery - and because of this, it's a tourist hot spot. Tourism is pretty much 100% of the financial income to the islands. Most locals have a very limited earning season from April to September. Being a self-employed maker fits the lifestyle extremely well we make through the winter and sell through the summer.
In March, the effect of the global pandemic started to become apparent and everyone on the islands was discussing what this could mean for Scilly. Locals have been working all winter making products, renovating restaurants, exploring new menus, etc and were ready for a busy summer. The reality that it would not be safe for visitors to travel to Scilly for there holidays was both a blessing and a curse. It meant our friends and family would be safe as the island's very small hospital could not handle the virus but it also meant our lively hoods were lost.
I am one of many creatives on Scilly, and after talking to a few other concerned makers I came up with the idea to build a website with the message "if you cant come to Scilly, let a piece of Scilly come to you" a one-stop-shop of products hand made on the islands. The same day I had this idea I got to work knowing it wouldn't be long before a lockdown was announced and a few of us stayed up till 10 pm talking it through. the next day we emailed around 30 makers and within 5 days the site was up and sales were starting to come in.
Since then we had an article in the telegraph and various other local news outlets and radio mentions.
It has gone a lot better than I expected and although it doesn't make up for the business we have lost but it is defiantly helping us keep productive.
Check it out here : www.theislandmakers.com