Business As Unusual

Each day the news updates and reaction to the coronavirus changes. With lockdown gradually lifting and government guidelines being revised, businesses are adapting to the current COVID-19 climate in a truly inspiring way.


Festival Fever

Disappointed that this year’s Wentworth Festival in the stunning grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse is not happening? Fear not, because Wentworth Lockdown Festival 2020 is LIVE and direct to your living room, online on Saturday 6th June from 7pm. An exciting 90 minute special on what would have been the day for this year’s big outdoor music event. Featuring Wentworth Festival friends past & present. Get the drinks in, get comfy & there’s no need for wellies or sunscreen. A great way to party festival style and get in the mood for next year’s line-up on 5th June 2021 when The Feeling, Lightning Seeds, and many more are planned to rock up.

Tee Time

With exercise and the great outdoors being more important than ever, Yorkshire’s magnificent golf courses are welcoming players back in a ‘drive’ to get the sport going again post-COVID-19. With numbers being increased from two playing together to four (not fore), this is a sport where social distancing can easily be practised. Hornsea Golf Club encourage members and visitors to book online. Social distancing (with a sectioned off putting area), no touching of flags, upside down golf holes (yes really) in a cup design to prevent fingers being put into golf holes, plus hand sanitiser at the first tee and the end of the course, being just some of the ways the club have reacted to the current climate to ensure the safest possible playing conditions. Just minutes from the coast Hornsea Golf Club is considered to be one of the county’s finest.

Read more Yorkshire golf inspiration.

Prashad Community Chaat

Multi-award-winning Prashad, an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Drighlington, West Yorkshire have a mantra of ‘cooking with love’, which has recently taken on a whole new meaning. The family business not only prepare and deliver delicious dishes to your door BUT have now also introduced their #CommunityChaat. A ‘pay-it-forward’ initiative to feed local communities during the coronavirus crisis, including meals for NHS workers, care staff, key workers or struggling local families with mouths to feed. Every time you order a Prashad dish, you now have the option to donate a little extra, with each additional amount going towards Prashad’s culinary creations being served during the current coronavirus pandemic to those who need it most.

Deep Inside

With planning and preparations underway to get The Deep ready for reopening when the time is right (watch this space), the organisation are currently continuing to fundraise to support the 3,500 animals in their care. Plus, there’s some exciting online entertainment to educate and inform, including diving in The Deep’s jaw-dropping Endless Ocean tank (2.5 million litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt make this display home to some of the world’s most incredible creatures), seeing how the animals are fed and details of the various wildlife who inhabit this amazing underwater space. There’s also an exciting online game to be launched soon. 

Media, Movies, Museum & More

Whilst the National Science and Media Museum is temporarily closed as a result of coronavirus, its collections and their inspirational stories are publicly on display digitally, with online learning materials for all ages, a collection online website, and social media exhibitions, including a recent look at the history of Yorkshire Hollywood. For games fans, the museum has even ventured into new virtual worlds, making it possible for Animal Crossing players to add objects from the Science Museum Group collection to their game universe.     

Premiere League

Raising two fingers (it’s an iconic scene) to COVID-19, the latest Kes film premiered online last month and is available to watch free until 18th June. Based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Yorkshire writer Barry Hines, Kes reimagined retells the classic Yorkshire tale of boy and bird through puppetry, music and dance. 

Harewood at Home

Whilst the gates of Harewood are closed due to coronavirus (keep checking for updates), the virtual doors are wide open and over the past months the storytelling and behind the scenes has very much been online. Harewood is a charity and feels a duty to make its acclaimed collections available to all, from the incredible artwork and objects in the House, to the vibrant and at risk birds in the Bird Garden, this year celebrating 50 years and some milestones in conservation. 

Virtual exhibitions, mindfulness sessions and Q&As with fascinating people means that during June everyone can continue to enjoy Harewood at Home, whilst being poised to welcome visitors back as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Playhouse Projects

In response to the coronavirus situation Leeds Playhouse are prioritising their Creative Engagement community work with existing and new participants, keeping people socially and creatively connected through their Playhouse Connect project whilst the theatre is closed. This includes online projects, video call sessions and sending resources to young people with learning disabilities and their families, people with dementia, refugee and asylum seekers, older people and schools. Over 200 creative craft activities and interactive storytelling videos for the theatre’s female refugee Asmarina Voice choir to share with children have been delivered and a ‘School of 2020’ creative project for year 11 students in Leeds has been launched. The Playhouse has been signposting digital streaming of its co-produced work, including the Barber Shop Chronicles, viewed nearly 500,000 times, plus Night of the Living Dead: Remix with imitating the dog.

June activity includes a Haiku Exchange inviting people to write a form of Japanese poetry and the Playhouse is livestreaming Schlomo’s Homeskool Beatbox Adventures.

The Show Must Go On

Following an impressive art exhibition back in March at the stunning setting of Rudding Park and presented by British art historian, the BBC’s Dan Cruickshank, a version of the event is now available online. Promoting and supporting local artists, with a range of fantastic paintings on display and for purchase, Henshaws Online Art Show features work by a range of talented creatives, including Yorkshire landscape artist Sarah Garforth. 

Walking Home

Opera North has announced Walking Home: Sound Journeys for Lockdown, a commission for BBC Arts and Arts Council England’s Culture in Quarantine programme. Building on the Leeds-based company’s history of award-winning and innovative sound walks and installations, five artists are writing and recording new works to be listened to whilst walking. Crossing folk, jazz, Middle Eastern and African traditions, classical and contemporary music, including a vibrant cross-section of music-making in Britain today. Featuring cellist and composer Abel Selaocoe; qanun virtuoso Maya Youssef; oud player and composer Khyam Allami, vocalist, violinist and songwriter Alice Zawadzki; and accordionist and experimentalist Martin Green of the folk trio Lau, the artists are currently writing and recording their pieces in home studios across the UK and Europe. Walking Home will be available soon.

Behind the Mask

Taking bookings for from July onwards, the team at Nidderdale Llamas are currently working hard with their furry friends on the logistics of social distancing whilst trekking with the cuddly creatures AND they are busy holding sessions with the llamas to ensure that they are comfortable with mask wearing, that is guests wearing masks on treks, not the llamas.

Moonut Mountain Coming To Wensleydale

Written during the pandemic by Rachel Lambie of Hawes, Wensleydale, Moonut Mountain is a truly magical outdoor adventure children's book (aimed at 6 to 12 years). Set in what is usually a thriving tourist area, like many other rural parts of Yorkshire Hawes has suffered a huge economic loss in recent months and writer Rachel decided to create stories to entice families back to the area when encouraged to do so. Moonut Mountain is a series of short stories and a treasure hunt, including local businesses which have suffered through the coronavirus crisis, with clues located in strategic places for visitors to explore. Character names are based on local historic attractions and the quirky things of the surrounding countryside, and an app and interactive website will reveal correct treasure hunt answers and points gained linked to prizes. The family who collect the most points will be entered into the Golden Moonut competition. Moonut Mountain will be launched in August.

This article was originally written for This Is Y magazine digital edition – June 2020. To view the full magazine, click here.