Trade lost during the lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions mean local businesses need your support now more than ever this winter. A decision to choose to ‘shop local’ can have a big impact.
While some businesses have benefited from vital government support packages to help them stay afloat, they need you, the customers, most of all. And there are lots of reasons to choose to shop locally, wherever and however you are able to – despite the lockdowns and restrictions we have all been living with.
WHY CHOOSE LOCAL?
By supporting local businesses you are also supporting the borough’s economy, saving and creating jobs for people who live here.
According to campaign group Totally Locally, using New Economics Foundation data, every £10 you spend locally is worth up to £50 into the local economy.
Councillor Kamaljit Dhindsa, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for business and community services, said: “A thriving high street is part of the social fabric of our communities and helps to make Ealing a great place to live; while independent businesses often stock unique and locally-made items that are not easily available elsewhere.
“By sourcing goods locally, businesses also play their part in reducing Ealing’s carbon footprint. And, by supporting businesses on your doorstep, you are too; plus, you save time and money on travel.
“And that is not all, local businesses also generate revenue to support local charities and council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit the whole community.”
As you can read in more detail in another of our articles, Laura Forsyth, owner of the Village Trading Store in Acton, agreed. She said: “There is a lovely message that comes out every year on social media, which always reflects how we feel as small business owners, which is: Before you click on Amazon and those big companies, remember the community that you are in.
“If you spend a tenner or a fiver in your local area you are feeding a mouth, you are contributing to the economy of that area and you are giving back to your own community by spending your money in that community.”
The Association of Convenience Stores reports that 80% of independent retailers engaged in some form of community activity in the past year providing funding or in-kind support for a community event, donating to a food bank or sponsoring a local sports team or community activity.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Councillor Dhindsa said: “Support your local businesses by using local takeaway, delivery services and click-and-collect options from local business and consider local first when businesses are open.
“You can also support local businesses by buying from them online, leaving positive reviews and spreading the word for businesses you love with friends, neighbours and on social media.”
Laura also suggested opting to choose to buy local vouchers can help.
She said: “Buying a voucher means that money has gone through the till and it is in the business and, when your friend goes to redeem the voucher, it keeps the economy going.”
There are online directories of local businesses you can check to find what you need. You could take a look at queenofthesuburbs.org, actonnotebook.com, www.myvirtualneighbourhood.com, www.makeitealing.co.uk and www.facebook.com/PitshangerShops – to name but a few.
High street support
A local ‘High Streets Taskforce’ was set up this summer as part of the Reopening the High Streets Safely project to help ensure businesses meet COVID-19 requirements with funding provided by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.