Fish and chip shops need to take time out to look after their mental well-being – says mum-of-two divorcee, Vicky Webster, Owner of Christchurch takeaway, Captain Cod.
In the third instalment of the Women in Fish and Chips (WiFC) Vlog series, Vicky says that as an industry, fryers work hard but need to take time out to cope with the psychological and financial impact of the pandemic.
“A friend of mine committed suicide recently”, she said.
“It just goes to show – we need to look after ourselves and be kind to each other. We are all in the same boat.”
Vicky started working in the shop at the age of 13. By the time she was nineteen, she took over the entire business with her partner.
Three years ago, they separated and Vicky was left homeless with two kids and the shop. “That was a difficult time,” she reflects.
Vicky with her two kids outside the popular Christchurch-based chippy
The takeaway undertook a £70K refurbishment earlier this year and has remained open throughout the pandemic, maintaining strict social distancing.
“We don’t allow anyone in the shop and don’t take cash – everything is done online,” she said.
In the third week of lockdown, the business took a record £2700 in online sales in just an hour and a half. “I went home that night and I cried” she revealed.
Keen to protect and support the well-being of her team, Vicky has set up a WhatsApp Group with her staff so that she can stay in contact with them every day.
The WiFC video blog series was set up to help fish and chip shops share experiences and best practice during the lockdown.