Wilton UK with a population of 3,600 is tucked in the southwest of England. It’s the place where Wilton carpets came from and has been an Anglo Saxon settlement for over one thousand years.
There’s no church here so the local pub called The Swan serves as the community centre. Its closure due to Covid-19 coupled with reduced train service to London might look problematic to outsiders. But as The Economist points out, technology and village good will stepped in.
“A new local WhatsApp group is flooded with messages offering to pick up food or prescriptions for the elderly or to walk other people’s dogs and news bulletins: loo paper available in Tesco in Marlborough, potatoes now for sale on the market stall, newspaper deliveries still happening intermittently.”
The proprietor of the local closed pub ingeniously revamped the premises as a “pop-up shop selling vegetables, fruit, milk, bread and even (wonders!) local eggs. Wine is priced at a flat £10 a bottle. ”
Being British and not wanting to endanger his pub licence, the pub owner worried about overstepping regulations, but his premise repurposing met with local authority approval. With a maximum of two customers in the store at any one time, he’s also selling takeout meals. And surprise! The venture is taking off.
Even the local wheat farmer is upbeat, as the crisis has made his crop more desirable with a lot of it already sold.
While it would appear that losing amenities would lessen community contacts, in this case it appears to have strengthened them.
“More walkers and cyclists appear to be on the roads, just as fewer cars are driving into nearby towns. And although social distancing is being carefully maintained, the greetings that are exchanged seem cheerier than usual.”
Is the same thing happening in other communities in Metro Vancouver?