St Albans businesses and organisations catch up with us amid coronavirus lockdown

St Albans HIIT Kitchen have given meals to the ambulance service staff to help them. Picture: Suppli

St Albans HIIT Kitchen have given meals to the ambulance service staff to help them. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Walking through the emptiness of the streets of our usually vibrant and bustling city can be lonely at the moment.

Elsa Nightingale was named by The London Colney Rescue after coming from nearby London's makeshift N

Elsa Nightingale was named by The London Colney Rescue after coming from nearby London's makeshift Nightingale hospital. - Credit: Archant

It is hard to imagine that a shop or café could be so key to our daily lives, yet to suddenly not have that contact feels odd.

Herts Ad reporter Laura Bill caught up with some people from the city centre community to see how they are experiencing the lockdown from a personal perspective.

Staff at boutique The Dressing Room are all well and online orders are still going out. Owner Deryane Tadd said: “The majority of the team are on furlough with just three of us working individually to keep on top of sending out online orders.

“The lockdown has made us be a little more creative with our social media, I have moved some of my styling videos to my house and photo shoots in the garden, with my son Leo photobombing on occasion!

“May sees our 15th birthday and we will still be celebrating this in style.”

The London Colney Hedgehog Rescue is still continuing its fight for the little creatures and newly-named hedgehog ‘Elsa Nightingale’ arrived earlier this month from Canning Town, just up the road from the makeshift Nightingale Hospital created to deal with the pandemic. She has broken her back leg and is elderly but is doing well.

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At Hatch on the Hill, the manager has been ferrying fresh fruit and vegetables directly to his staff and a few regular customers. Owner Chris Evans has downed his apron and is making an attempt at re-tiling the kitchen floor. He said: “It has been a steep learning curve to say the least.”

Hatch in the Maltings is open for Deliveroo orders.

Founder of mental health awareness campaign It’s OK To Say Stacey Turner told us how she is getting on: “While, like many, I am finding this difficult, I am also finding it enlightening. Work continues from my home office and it’s allowing me to spend gifted time with my daughters.”

Stacey said that to ease their anxiety she has explained to them that though they cannot control what is going on in the world, they can control their own environment. She is also giving lots of praise and positivity as well as cooking together with her family.

The founder of HIIT Kitchen, Rob Ashman, has been donating meals to West Herts Ambulance Service to help them out at this stressful time. They are still providing a delivery service to people in St Albans.

St Albans Cathedral clergy are still delivering services on a weekly basis via YouTube and Facebook. The Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John said: “It has been very heartening to see that not only are our ‘regulars’ linked in, but we are reaching very many more, both locally in St Albans and further away.The clergy continue to pray daily.”

Anybody can request a personal prayer via a ‘prayer button’ on their website.

Richard Marrett, general manager of St Michael’s Manor said: “The gardens are looking magnificent in the sunshine however the grass is still growing. This has enabled me to become a dab hand with a lawn mower cutting the five acres of grass.

“Community spirit is high at the moment and Jamie at The Hare and Hounds pub is doing a marvellous job of providing food for our homeless and we have just emptied our freezer of sirloin of beef, king prawns and monkfish for Jamie to cook up his next feast.”

Richard added that cancelling weddings has been very disappointing but next summer will be amazing when they will be able to celebrate so many marriages.

Sean Hughes, who runs The Boot, The Plough at Sleapshyde and Dylans, said: “We have been having yoga sessions three times a week for our teams and it has been a great way to meet up and do something beneficial to the mental health of our team whilst they have been furloughed.”

They have also launched Dylans at Home, delivering boxes of food for people to cook at home with a video pre-recorded by Drew Knight.

Sean added: “The best thing about this time in lockdown is for people to come together at meal times and cook and we hope that this will bring exciting new ideas and methods to help people who may be cooking for the first time.”