THE last few weeks have presented challenging times for all of us, but particularly so for small businesses. Many local businesses have had to cancel their services, putting their livelihood at risk.

However lots have come up with alternative ways of offering their services, adapting their plans to continue operating in order to survive, or even thrive. The Gazette encourages you to support them during these difficult times.

The Parlour Tea Room

With a full reservation list for Mother’s Day, owners of The Parlour Tea Room at Viables had to think quickly how they could still make the day special for their customers and families, without them coming to the venue. Mother and daughter team Sharon and Lucy Fisher decided to offer their customers afternoon tea collection boxes, which included fresh sandwiches, homemade bakes and signature scones. The idea was a huge hit, with orders having to be capped at 300 boxes due to the popularity.

Sharon said: “The response we have had has been absolutely overwhelming, something we could never have imagined. Sourcing stock for over 300 customers in the current ingredient shortage was not a simple task, but we were determined to make it happen.”

Customers picked up their boxes before leaving them on loved-one’s doorsteps.

Caterpillar Music

Offering fun, sensory music and movement sessions for babies and toddlers across the borough, Caterpillar Music owner Jasmine McCarthy was heartbroken when she had to call a halt on her classes last week.

The mum-of-three, however, quickly came up with a new plan. to continue entertaining those with children whilst they are unable to come to classes, offering a life-line to those in isolation or feeling lonely.

She said: “In this difficult and uncertain time we had to think outside the box and adapt our business. We decided to come together and think how we could banish the boredom at home and help keep our business alive.”

Caterpillar Music is now running an exclusive online music club, with interactive sessions for families to enjoy in their home. The sessions run Monday to Friday at 10am for the next four weeks, and will continue after this if necessary. For those who are already signed up to a class, the sessions are free, but other families can also join in for a small subscription cost. Visit

Infinite Harmony

Vicky Watson, owner of Infinite Harmony, worked hard to launch online yoga classes after taking the decision to cancel all face-to-face classes running in the town last week.

She is hoping to help people remain calm and relaxed while people are in isolation, or reducing social contact.

With help from family and friends, Vickycleared her shed, invested in a web camera and microphone, and converted the space into a virtual yoga studio.

The mother-of-two said: “I have always been a believer that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and I flatly refuse to be beaten by the current situation that we all find ourselves in.

“I also believe that we need yoga now more than ever, to keep us sane, flexible and connected.”

She added: “I have been so grateful for the support from everyone; mentally, physically and virtually.”Classes are delivered using Zoom, and are live. Visit

Movin Monkeez

Becky Lane teaches dance, movement and exercise classes in nurseries and schools and as well as running other classes in the area, faced the possibility of being out of work with the closure of all schools on Friday.

However, determined not to be defeated, she launched online sessions through Facebook, offering them to all families for £10 for the entire month. Visit or