WELL readers, what a few months lockdown has been. I must admit that with the world briefly turning upside down my column took a little break, but we’re back, and more importantly Malton is back.

First of all I want to send my condolences and thoughts to anyone who has lost loved ones during this period. Clearly this has not been an easy time and the most important thing for your family is its health. It does seem, though, that slowly at least, things are starting to move in the right direction.

Although it’s been a struggle for many, I’m delighted to say we seem to have turned a corner in Malton, the town is now springing back to life and there is a lot to look forward to.

So much of the last 10 years of our food town project has been about attracting footfall to the centre of Malton. But with lockdown came the shops shutting, no festivals, no markets and no prospect of footfall.

What has been inspirational, though, is how Malton’s local businesses have changed and adapted - almost overnight - to online and home delivery.

While many of them had always intended to offer an online presence, lockdown forced businesses to do it more immediately. And then out of the blue came a wonderful thing, Malton Delivers, an online directory of local businesses making home deliveries.

Having an online presence is one thing, but getting the message out to people is quite another and the key to online success is to get that message out and promote it strongly. Thanks must go to Paul and Donna Middleditch of local firm Ten Fathoms who were instrumental in setting up Malton Delivers.

This lifeline has been a giant help for Malton’s independent businesses and indeed proves that people do want to support local shops where it is made as convenient and efficient to do so. Here are a few examples.

With so much demand, Dales fruit and veg now have a dedicated online shop which has been incredibly busy. Paley’s also seems to have had a queue out the door for the whole of lockdown. Derek Fox’s butchers also innovated and took a more traditional approach with their van doing the rounds to local villages, likewise with Food 2 Remember. With no cafes and restaurants to sell to, Roost Coffee has been selling direct to consumers and again have been going great guns, not only posting out their coffee far and wide, but also by teaming up with Brass Castle Brewery to offer local doorstep deliveries.

Florian Poirot told me last week their online sales to all parts of the UK have gone up hugely. He even said they are about to start selling his incredible macaroons and chocolates to France. There is something very satisfying about that.

YO Bakehouse and The Patisserie are yet more examples of how local cafes can adapt to home delivery and takeaways. Both have been working their socks off. Malton Brewery said their online sales have jumped forward to where they expected to be in year five - for the smallest commercial brewery in the country that’s great news.

So, while I can say things have definitely not been easy, it has been wonderful to see the determined innovation that has kept businesses going. Malton has proved yet again to be resilient, nimble and adaptable.

I’m also delighted to say that Malton Monthly Food Market is back on Saturday, July 11. Yes, things will be slightly strange at first with all the relevant social distancing measures in place, but boy is it exciting to be back. I can’t wait to give you a very warm (socially distanced) welcome to Malton very soon. For the latest information, go to visitmalton.com