The impact you can have on the future of your community by shopping local should not be underestimated, the team behind a major new campaign say.
Scotland Loves Local has been launched by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, with the support of the Scottish Government, as part of the country’s efforts to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Its mission is to encourage everyone to think local first – to make the most of the remarkable range of businesses close to home before travelling further afield or turning to online retail giants.
Beyond that, it seeks to remind all Scots that town centres, village stores and community shopping parades aren’t just a series of buildings and pavements. These are places with people at their hearts – individuals who go above and beyond to support the places they live, many of whom are part of families which have been at the core of their community for generations.
They are messages which have never been more important as Scotland continues on its route map out of lockdown and as businesses battle back from the disruption seen since March.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “The difference you can make in your community and the people who live and work around you by thinking local first should not be underestimated. Spending locally is a tremendous force for good.
“Through the Scotland Loves Local campaign, we want to not only encourage people to use the businesses in their town centre only now, but always. By prioritising spending in your community, you can help achieve this.
“The compassion and solidarity for our friends and neighbours which has been shown in every community in Scotland during lockdown has been inspirational.
“As we work our way out of the coronavirus crisis, we have an opportunity not just to support those around us through the immediate impact of the disruption we have seen, but lay the foundations for our town centres of the future, ensuring they are vibrant, sustainable and there for you.”
Travel restrictions and the vast increase in the numbers of people working from home has seen support for many local businesses increase during lockdown.
Many of those enterprises – whether they be shops, cafes, restaurants or others – have displayed resilience and innovation by adapting to ensure they could continue to support their customers by increasing their online offerings, ensuring home deliveries, supporting community causes and much more.
As increasing numbers of those businesses physically reopen, Scotland Loves Local aims to ensure that the good habits of shopping locally embraced during lockdown are not lost.
Mr Prentice added: “Nowhere else will you experience the levels of service, commitment and sense of purpose than you do locally. The people who own and work in these businesses are part of the fabric of where we live.
“By thinking local first you are supporting jobs and investing in your community. The more we support local businesses, the stronger your community will be. Whether you need a book, a pint of milk, a night out and a meal or some garden furniture, please think local first.”
Businesses across the country have been working with Business Improvement Districts, Local Authorities and others to put in place arrangements which mean people can shop locally, but safely. These arrangements include the use of screens, distance markers and signage, the provision of hand sanitizer instore and capacity limits.
Scotland Loves Local encourages people to show their support responsibly by following all of the clearly communicated social distancing and hygiene guidance shared by the Scottish Government to keep rates of Covid-19 suppressed.
Scotland’s Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP, said: “It is now more vitally important than ever to consider shopping, eating and drinking locally as we all have a role to play in Scotland’s economic recovery.
“Simple steps like choosing to visit a nearby shop or café, or buying goods or services from a business in your own community, helps support jobs and goes a long way to fostering the vibrant selection of products and services on offer close to home.
“By following the public health advice, we can all make exploring what the neighbourhood has to offer as safe as possible. I would encourage everyone who is able to head out and discover for themselves what living locally can offer them – I know that business owners at the heart of our communities will appreciate it immensely.”
For more information about the Scotland Loves Local campaign and to find out how you can get involved go to www.lovelocal.scot