Running a business can be a challenge at the best of times, so keeping afloat during a pandemic is almost impossible - but the trading heroes of Copeland have never faltered.

This year has proven one challenging ride for many businesses across the borough with multiple lockdowns, Covid cases and worried customers to support.

And while nobody could be blamed for closing their doors during these tricky times, hundreds of Copeland’s traders have kept calm and carried on, allowing everyone to continue Shopping Local.

Whitehaven News: West Coast Deli & BakeryWest Coast Deli & Bakery

Not one to back down in the face of difficulty is newly-opened West Coast Deli, as owners Sam and Jean Small looked to expand their business – just before the nation’s second lockdown hit.

“It’s been a little bit mad!” Sam said.

“There is so much uncertainty right now, but we have been thinking of expanding for a while and we are pleased we have finally been able to go for it.

“We are just going with the flow for now – still offering deliveries of meals and people can collect as well, so it is just a case of seeing how it goes and trying to make sure everyone has what they want and need”.

The couple and their children – Hayden, 17, twins Kieron and Lewis, 15 and 10-year-old Sophie, worked tirelessly together during the first lockdown to keep business running smoothly, feeding hundreds of homes across the borough from their first business, West Coast Catering.

Sam said: “I don’t ever want to see another afternoon tea!

“We made more than 250 afternoon teas for VE Day celebrations and people absolutely loved them – but if I see another scone, I’ll cry!”

And since branching out into deli foods, the Egremont team has seen even more support and encouragement from within the Copeland community.

“We did this for us – it has been something we have wanted to do for so long, so it is amazing to see people really being pleased for us and helping us succeed,” Sam said.

“It’s a real family business, and if it is successful it will give my children some stability when they are older and that would just mean so much.

“Thank you to everyone who has ordered from us and kept us going – it means more than we can say”.

Down in Millom, the ever-popular Scoop Value has of course been playing its part for all, keeping the whole town fed and well looked after.

After closing for two weeks when two staff members tested Covid-positive, custom has come back better than ever, proving Morris Wright's shop is one of the most adored spots in town.

"It was unfortunate to close, but thankfully people couldn't wait to get back, as we had people calling at the weekend to make sure we were opening this week!" the proud owner said.

"We offer deliveries to everyone who needs it and the pensioners love it because it is such a big help to them.

"A lot of people are still a bit nervous about coming out the house i think, so it is definitely a great feeling to know we are helping in that way".

Morris and his five-strong team spend their mornings taking orders from across the area and promise to send them out the same day if they are in by 1pm.

And while they do not have a single second to sit down and catch their breath before another wave of customers come into the shop, those at Scoop Value could not be more grateful for the busy shop-life.

"I would very much like to say thank you to all our customers," Morris said.

"They are what keeps us going and we will be delivering and doing what we can for as long as it is needed.

"Scoop value was an empty shop when I bought it 25 years ago and I have built it up and kept it going and I will be keeping it going for as long as I can!"