When Wirral Council invited members of the public to nominate their ‘High Street Heroes’, suggestions poured in for hundreds of independent shops that went above and beyond during lockdown. The nominations proved how small businesses are the beating heart of Wirral’s communities, delivering food and essentials to shielding residents while providing a cheerful face during testing times.
After the difficult time they have been through, there is no doubt that all Wirral’s businesses deserve to be labeled ‘High Street Heroes’ but 17 have been chosen to be the face of the new campaign, encouraging residents to support their local businesses.
So please take your hat off to Wirral’s ‘High Street Heroes’...
Neil & Maria Kershaw Newsagents, Egremont
Neil and Maria Kershaw epitomised the ‘can do’ spirit that many of Wirral’s businesses demonstrated when faced with a global pandemic. The convenience store on King Street did fundraising and teamed up with local group Foodfight to get goods from supermarkets that were either short-dated or slightly damaged, which they distributed for free to residents who were struggling. Owner Neil said: “It was a fantastic team effort. We even received a £500 donation from a local resident who wanted to do their ‘bit’. Gestures like this have invigorated our efforts to help our great community”.
“They are such a credit to the community. They get involved in schemes such as cleaning and planting beautiful flowers and have also invited local children to draw paintings to brighten up their shop windows. They have a heart of gold”. Lianda
Baker Street, Bromborough
The owner of Baker Street, James Fielding, missed out on seeing his first child being born as he wasn’t allowed to visit the hospital due to COVID restrictions. It proved to be the only delivery he missed during lockdown though. He said: “When I got the call on a Monday morning to say I had a son, I was in the shop preparing another batch of home deliveries! The idea came about after an elderly customer came in for a loaf of bread but had a couple of heavy bags of shopping with her. I offered to drop her shopping off, gave her my number and said if she needed anything else, to ring me. She handed my number out to a lot of her neighbours and soon we were delivering to everyone in the sheltered living where she lived! It was a real pleasure to work through lockdown, to help my local community”.
“They didn't just do bread and delicious cakes, they got in toilet roll and hand sanitiser when nowhere else had them! A real gem”. Ann
Lewis Butchers & Deli, Greasby
When the country went in to lockdown, the family butcher in Greasby closed down the shop and switched to a free Wirral-wide delivery service. Director Karen Lunt said: “It was an immense challenge, basically setting up a new business in the space of a day, but it has gone well. I feel like I have circumnavigated the globe twice! We gained new customers too, who appreciated the quality of our meat. Many commented that now they’ve tried local, they wouldn’t go back to buying cheap supermarket food as they could taste the difference. I think lockdown had a profound effect on people and made them change the way they think about themselves and others. As the weeks went by I began to notice people wanted to talk more and I have really got to know customers as a result”.
”The staff worked their socks off, doing home deliveries and going the extra mile to keep people supplied with quality produce. Hats off to Lewis’s!" Janet
Every Lesson Counts Tutoring, Bebington
With schools closed and parents facing the challenge of juggling their own jobs with home schooling, Every Lesson Counts stepped up to the plate during lockdown by setting up a virtual school with online Zoom lessons, daily assemblies, live art sessions, science experiments and much more. The tutoring agency, which has six centers around Wirral, offered the schooling for free to children of NHS workers, as well as anyone who was financially struggling, ensuring no child missed out.
”It is hard to put into words just how much they have done for us during these unprecedented times without becoming a complete emotional mess. As a family with a shielding child, these last months have been a challenge but ELC have pulled us through and kept us smiling daily. My children talk about the other students as if they have known them for years!” Jo
Colin Lunt Greengrocer, West Kirby
For the first time in over 50 years of serving West Kirby with fresh fruit and veg, the greengrocer was forced to close during lockdown. They quickly set up a home delivery service and even received an order all the way from Australia! Owner Matty Peers: “A customer's daughter emailed from Australia with an order of groceries for her mum, as they had no-one else to turn to and their mum had not left the house in weeks. She was shocked and emotional when we turned up like Father Christmas with a box of goodies! Often customers were grateful of the friendly face, as they hadn’t seen anyone all week”. The greengrocer, located on Banks Road, also set up a pop-up shop nearby where customers could collect their fruit and vegetables.
“I was shielding and they delivered all my fresh produce, plus anything else I needed from other shops. The deliveries arrived rain or shine and he always had a big smile and stopped for a chat - priceless! I will be forever grateful for their support”. Hazel
Rostherne (Cross) Nursery, Leasowe
When the country first went in to lockdown, the nursery gave away thousands of pounds worth of bedding plants to customers, to help brighten up gardens that would be getting a lot of use in the coming months. Manager Diane Cross said: "Lockdown hit us as the worst possible time as spring and summer are our busiest seasons. But we’ve not been in business 72 years to give up without a fight!” The nursery set up popular delivery and ‘click and collect’ services, and cheered their customers up with regular Facebook posts, including their own celebration of World Naked Gardening Day!
“Their efforts brightened the days of many who were shielding and were worried about their gardens. They created a Facebook page which gave easy-to-follow advice and was always fun. For people such as ourselves who self-isolated from March until August, they really brought us sunshine”. Y. Schmack
Hoylake Pantry: Zero Waste Shopping
The zero waste shop in Hoylake operated as self-service prior to COVID, with customers filling their own containers with cereals, pulses, flour, herbs and spices, as well as cleaning liquids and shampoo. But when restrictions came in and self-service was no longer an option, the sustainable business doubled their workforce, opened an online shop and organised a delivery and pick-up service. Initially deliveries were to local households, but such was the demand they expanded their reach across Wirral. Manager Sharon Hall said: “We are very proud to have been able to keep zero waste shopping available to our regular customers and to new customers too, who have discovered the value of it during these strange times”.
“It’s so nice to have a local shop that has no single-use plastic. I worried they may close during lockdown but they doubled their efforts to feed their customers. I’m so proud to have a business like this in Hoylake”. Pat
Muffs of Bromborough
This third generation butcher and delicatessen are used to collecting awards for their sausages and pies but received plenty of recognition from members of the public for their substantial efforts during lockdown too. Like many butchers, greengrocers and convenience stores around Wirral, Muffs did much-needed home deliveries to their customers and also stocked everyday essentials which were sometimes difficult to obtain at supermarkets. The business also took to social media, posting regular morale-boosting competitions.
“Many people in isolation, like us, struggled to obtain supermarket delivery slots and many basic commodities with unobtainable. But Stephen and John managed to stock the items and delivered to my door. You cannot imagine what a lifeline this became, not just for me but the entire community”. Wal
M&A Weinronk, Pensby
When news of a national lockdown arrived, demand surged at pharmacies as customers stocked up on medication, hand gel and, you’ve guessed it, toilet rolls. But the need to deliver medication became a priority for M&A Weinronk in Pensby, which will celebrate its 50th birthday next year. Owner Tee Weinronk: “Once lockdown happened and the over 70s and vulnerable people were told to shield, we decided to dramatically increase the number of deliveries so patients didn’t have to leave home. This was done in conjunction with Wirral University Teaching Hospital who provided drivers. Although organising this was a huge logistical undertaking in a short space of time, it came as a relief to so many people. Our fantastic staff worked long hours to make sure the people of Pensby got their medicines”.
“I am 80 and had been self isolating since March. They delivered my medication even though I did not have to ask them to. This made a big difference to me and the gentleman who delivers is extremely polite and helpful”. Heather
The Village Shop, Heswall
A candidate for the prettiest business in Wirral, The Village Shop in Heswall distributed leaflets to residents and pulled together a group of volunteers to deliver shopping. Owner Caroline Cartwright: "One of the special moments was when a customer told us that an elderly lady she knew cried when she received our leaflet saying we would deliver. She said it was like someone giving her a lifeline. Another lady from outside the area pleaded that there was no-one at all who would deliver to her. She now comes in every few weeks and tells us she will never forget how we helped her. It hasn’t been all plain sailing though. We left a parcel at one place and the local cat ran off with the sausages! The help, kindness and support that everyone has shown to each other is so uplifting. I believe we will come out of this stronger and more caring - about each other and what really matters".
"They perform a huge role in the village, they know all of their customers and are kind, caring and lovely people. They could not have done more for the community they serve". Mary
K&N Fresh Veg & Fruit, Birkenhead
K&N Fresh Veg and Fruit, situated on Quarrybank Road, did home deliveries to shielding residents and organised a ‘click and collect’ service so customers could receive their boxed orders without having to get out of their car. The shop stocks a huge range of local seasonal and Asian produce and prides itself on offering the personal touch to its customers. Owner Kazem Kohnechi: “We want our customers to come in, have a chat and feel uplifted. We love what we do and we’re always happy to answer questions, perhaps even give a few cookery tips too!”
“I am in poor health and during lockdown K&N bought supplies to my home. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I will never forget what they have done for the community during lockdown. Wonderful, wonderful people”. Emma
Boysenberry Catering & Deli, New Ferry
Boysenberry Deli was a prime example of a business adapting during COVID-19. Prior to lockdown, the Deli on New Chester Road had just employed their first member of staff and had catering commitments for Aintree Grand National, local festivals and restaurants. But when the pandemic hit, they quickly reacted to offer a home delivery service, teaming up with the butcher next door, Edge and Sons. Such was demand, Boysenberry called in help from furloughed ‘chef friends’. Owner Emma Wombwell: “We now have a real place in our community and have built many relationships with people that we didn’t know before”.
“They offered a delivery service very quickly after lockdown, worked nonstop and still managed to serve every customer with a smile. They are an asset to the area and people now come from far and wide to shop in the deli”. Tom
Tower Stores, New Brighton
The business that received more High Street Hero nominations than any other was Tower Stores convenience store on Seabank Road. As well as delivering shopping and collecting/topping up gas and electric cards for customers, the business - a firm favourite of Sir Ken Dodd whenever he played at the Floral nearby - provided 1,700 free meals to NHS staff and key workers. Owner Divyesh Patel was born in the Gujrat state of India and moved to the UK in 2003. Used to living near the sea front, he chose New Brighton as place to settle. He said: “When my family moved to UK, the New Brighton community welcomed, supported and loved us. So when COVID came along, I believe it was our moral duty to give back to our community. I feel blessed with love and so proud that our customers nominated us to be a High Street Hero”.
“They worked tirelessly throughout lockdown, cooking meals for NHS staff and delivering shopping to people shielding. Massive appreciation to this amazing family”. Linda
The Bike Shop, Moreton
With the majority of the population staying at home during lockdown, the need for exercise became even more important. As lots of people turned to cycling, The Bike Shop soon discovered a growing demand. Exempt from the government’s forced retail closures, the shop chose to stay open and quickly implemented safety guidelines to make sure Wirral’s residents could stay on two wheels during lockdown. The store also offered a fast-track repair service for any key workers who rely on their bike to get to and from work.
“They worked all hours as the demand for repairs and new bikes went up. They’ve helped so many people start cycling giving bike and trail advice, whilst repairing bikes that haven’t seen the light of day in months/years. Here’s to you, you lovely bunch!” Heather
Heseltine's Butchers, Upton
Like many businesses during lockdown, the butcher shop in Upton set up a delivery service for their customers, particularly those who were elderly, vulnerable or shielding. As well as delivering meat products, they teamed up with other local businesses to deliver bread, milk, toilet rolls and even gin and whiskey! Manager Phil Walker said: "The response was overwhelming. We’ve been very busy but it’s also wonderful to meet and talk to our customers, many of whom were isolating and wouldn’t see another person all day. I’m extremely proud of the whole team, who worked so hard to keep our community fed and safe".
"Phil and his team at Heseltine’s have been a tower of strength during lockdown. Providing vital support to residents, delivering to shielding residents and willing to help in so many ways. They have been inspirational during this difficult time". Paula
The Dog’s Diner, Moreton
It’s not just Wirral’s residents that needed to be kept well fed during lockdown, their pets needing feeding too. The staff at Dog’s Diner worked around the clock to deliver, as well as setting up a collection service. Director Ann Ridyard said: “If owners couldn’t make it to the shop, the whole team came together to make sure their pets didn’t go without, often delivering out of hours. We were determined that our furry customers were not going to suffer because of restrictions! This is more than just a job to all the people that work in the Dog’s Diner, they’re passionate about pets”.
“They’ve gone above and beyond in unprecedented times to make sure no dog goes hungry and delivered to people who had to remain isolated. They treat customers dogs like their own and give them treats as soon as they walk in”. Chardy
Helen Moore Hairdressing, Wallasey
Although Helen’s hairdressing business had to close for over three months during lockdown, Helen kept busy by contacting her clients every day to make sure no-one went lonely. We will publish her full story during High Street Hero Week, which starts on Monday 9 November.
“If anyone deserves to be a High Street Hero, it’s Helen for sure. The crisis has been hard on everyone and she went out of her way to make sure that loneliness didn’t factor in to people's misery”. Sean
How you can help
These 17 amazing businesses are just the tip of the iceberg, with many more Wirral businesses doing extraordinary things during lockdown. The best way you can help is to support all your local businesses, not just those listed above. They've had a tough time in 2020 and need your custom more than ever.
All of the businesses listed above are COVID-secure and have introduced many measures to ensure their customers are safe, including face masks, social distancing and rules about the number of people who can be in their premises.