Norwich street food collective announces closure because of coronavirus

Tony Lacey, director of Feast on the Street, which has announced it is closing. Picture: Denise Brad

Tony Lacey, director of Feast on the Street, which has announced it is closing. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

A street food collective has announced it is to cease trading because of an uncertain future coupled with the cancellation of the public events it relies on.

Feast On The Street, a community interest company (CIC) representing Norfolk-based street food vendors was launched in 2013 with the aim of helping individual traders reach more customers and attend large scale public events.

Over the years it has helped vendors get pitches at the numerous Norwich events, the Lord Mayor’s Celebration, Latitude, Newmarket Racecourse and built up a loyal following.

But the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic, mass cancellations of public events coupled with uncertainty around when social distancing rules will cease has forced the CIC to announce it is closing.

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Tony Lacey, 57, the director of Feast on the Street (FOST), said the decision to cease trading came after a difficult few months, which began with the postponement and cancellation of sporting events as coronavirus spread across Europe.

Mr Lacey, said: “Obviously it’s been quite a difficult over the last few months anyway with the lockdown and with the best will in the world, events large or small are not going to happen for 12 months.”

He said FOST had noticed hesitation from event organisers and not received as many enquiry emails as it normally would.

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“You think maybe there’s something around the corner, but you realise in terms of an exit strategy [from the pandemic] there really isn’t one or if there is, the part [street food] plays in the community is not going to get back to normality for a while,” he said.

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“At the end of the day you have to put a time limit on it and no matter what you’re feeling you have to be quite blunt about it.”

Mr Lacey said he was optimistic about the future of street food in Norwich and said he hoped a similar organisation to FOST would form in the future.

He said: “I think if street food is going to come back in Norwich the market is the ideal place. The opportunity is there in the future, hopefully for a group of traders.”