THE Echo launched its campaign on Wednesday – #BackingEssexBusiness – to highlight the fantastic work being done by firms around the county as they help our key workers and the rest of the community.

There’s no doubt we are going through distressing times amid the pandemic, from people losing their jobs, to parents having to suddenly turn into teachers and think up creative ways to keep their little ones entertained, while others are working from home.

Our independent businesses are also struggling more than ever before and are relying on us to support them during the outbreak.

Once this is all over we might think twice about doing our shopping with big chains and remember that the smaller, independent shops needs us, and our support.

Despite the struggles businesses are going through to stay afloat, they are still pulling together and looking out for their community, as well as each other.

Eddie Farooq, owner of Royal Fish and Chips at Southend High Street, has lent a helping hand to neighbouring businesses who were hanging on by a thread if he had not stepped in.

His business is offering a delivery service and strictly abiding by the government guidelines on social distancing.

But when he saw a nearby and long-standing newsagents Big News 4, at Clifftown Road, off the high street, was struggling, along with relatively new and independent food store, Fresh Daily, also on the high street, Eddie helped them set up a delivery service which is now keeping their heads just above water.

Eddie, told the Echo: “We are offering a delivery service and sticking strictly to the government guidelines and wearing masks, and just making sure that everyone is safe.

“When I saw my neighbouring businesses were struggling and on the verge of closing. I helped them get set up to offer deliveries too.

“They couldn’t afford to close as they have families to feed.

“Now Big News is taking around 40 to 50 orders a day and Fresh Daily is doing around 10 a day.

“It’s obviously not the same as before but they are still getting orders.

“All of us and the community are coming together to do what we can to help.”

Eddie has hit the headlines before for his kind-hearted, good nature.

For two years running he has opened the restaurant on Christmas Day to feed the homeless.

Wednesday’s campaign launch featured Hockley Market Garden Centre, who were selling fruit and vegetables and fresh eggs from local suppliers, to help with those who have struggled to buy groceries from the main supermarkets.

We also featured The Tandoori Parlour and Wheelers in Benfleet, Indian restaurants who are offering a no-contact delivery service.

Readers can support the campaign by using the hashtag #BackingEssexBusiness. You can shout out a local business which has gone above and beyond, or tell us about the ways your business is coping.

For more information about supporting the campaign, email