Shoppers across the UK have been urged to do their bit and take part in Shop Local Week (10-16 August) to help local businesses rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic.
Shop Local Week is part of the government’s Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, encouraging people to get back to the way of life they have missed, while following safety guidelines.
From popping into a local family-run bakery for a loaf of bread, or buying a quirky gift from an independent shop, by shopping locally people can help local business owners and local communities get back up and running.
To help kick off Shop Local Week, here are eight reasons why customers should visit the high street this week:
Help the high street and support the local economy
Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy, and by spending money in their local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to aid our national recovery across the country.
Save jobs – and create even more
Supporting our high streets creates jobs in local communities, supporting often young and disadvantaged people to find employment. Helping to grow the number of jobs in our local areas makes for a better place to live and work, which then creates a healthy economy for the community.
People might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops. Independent retailers often reward regular customers, while others often provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend. Consumers can also save money eating out – the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is being provided by the government, saving diners up to £10 per head on eat-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one of the 73,000 participating businesses.
A safe way to shop
Businesses across the country have been following government guidance and implementing a range of measures to ensure people are safe while they shop, such as customer limits inside the store, plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitizing stations.
Preserving the heart of the community
A thriving high street is key to boosting the potential of a village or town where people can socialise as well as shop. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities across the UK.
Spoilt for choice
Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere else, providing a great range of choice and unique products that bring much-needed originality and variety into communities – including rare finds and items that aren’t mass produced.
A better shopping experience
Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.
Help the environment
Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint. When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “From corner shops and florists, to newsagents, cafes and pubs, our high streets are at the heart of every community in every corner of the UK.
“Business owners have done an incredible job so far to welcome shoppers back safely, and I hope people across the country will do their bit this week to help our high streets bounce back to protect jobs and support local communities.”
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “The last few months have been incredibly hard for businesses across the country, which is why the government put in place an unprecedented package of measures to support them.
“As small businesses get back on their feet and reopen with new safety measures in place, consumers can lend a hand by shopping local – supporting local companies and jobs.”
Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday UK and Founder of Small Business Britain added her comments saying: “Small businesses are the beating heart of communities and town centres up and down the country, and they will be at the centre of the recovery. These small firms – from the local greengrocer, to the neighbourhood gift ship – were there for the nation during lockdown and now they need our support to get back on their feet.”
“‘Shop Local’ is an important campaign to encourage more people to return to shopping locally, in a way that is safe and gives them confidence. The British high street is confronting seismic changes, which have been accelerated by Covid-19. Small businesses are facing a really tough time, but they are also at the forefront of responding to this challenge and evolving these much-loved centres into places that enrich communities and add value to people’s lives. Now is the time to show your local area some love.”
Federation of Small Business National Chair Mike Cherry concluded by saying: “It’s vital now more than ever that we do what we can to support our local small businesses. The past few months have been among the most difficult that businesses have ever had and as we slowly reopen, the public can help by supporting their local businesses. Whether it’s your local grocer, decorators or florist, they all need the support of their communities in order to survive this crisis and thrive.
“Even those businesses who haven’t been able to reopen their stores, or members of the public who are continuing to shield, then shopping online is a great way to still do your part. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy nationwide, but crucially are the cornerstones of our local communities.”