Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, tells us about a new scheme to honour the heroes of our High Streets….
I never fail to be blown away by the determination and dedication of the remarkable people who are at the heart of Scotland’s town centres.
It’s these people who make our high streets what they are – and deliver a commitment and personal service you will not experience anywhere else – rather than the collections of buildings which make them up.
And it’s they who need and deserve our support as – from Aberdeen and Dundee to Elgin and St Andrews – we work to harness the sense of solidarity and support that we have seen for localism during lockdown to build vibrant and sustainable town centres which are fit for the future.
When we have needed them most, the people behind the local businesses in our town centres have shown remarkable resilience, innovation and support to ensure that they have been there for us.
Whether it’s been through deliveries or boosting online offerings to ensure services are not lost, making sure groceries have reached those shielding or getting behind community campaigns, countless numbers of local businesses have gone above and beyond to make a real difference. And they have done this while ensuring we can all stay safe by adhering all Scottish Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.
The desire to not just be there, but help in the safest possible way has been inspirational, reflecting a sense of purpose that you just don’t get from internet retail giants.
In fact, their efforts could simply be described as heroic.
That’s why, as part of the Scotland Loves Local Campaign, we have launched our High Street Heroes Awards.
We want to shine the spotlight on those who run and work in our local businesses who have devotedly and determinedly helped those around them find a way through a time which none of us could have foreseen as Covid-19 not only turned our lives upside down, but theirs too.
And we need the nation’s help to do it. We’re encouraging people across the country to tell us who their High Street Hero is by clicking here, where you can share briefly why your nominee is a hero. It takes just a few minutes to do and we can’t wait to read these stories.
The importance of our high streets and town centres to our local recovery from the impact of Covid-19 – and its impact on our national effort – should not be underestimated.
It’s a fact that the local pound flips around six times – supplier, staff, coffee shop, haircut, tax etc. By thinking local first we can secure jobs and build back stronger even with the cloud of recession hanging over us.
So, by supporting your local businesses, you will help create a fairer, better Scotland. It’s in all of our interests.
To find out more about the Scotland Loves Local campaign, visit the website here and look out for the #ScotlandLovesLocal hashtag on social media.