Protect our local traders

THE importance of supporting local businesses is being emphasised by the Herald & Gazette series with its new Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign.

Editor-in-chief Gary Shipton looks through many years' worth of local news in our archives
Editor-in-chief Gary Shipton looks through many years' worth of local news in our archives

This week, we are linking with our Johnston Press sister titles across the UK to urge our readers to do just that – Local, Eat Local, Play Local.

Herald & Gazette editor-in-chief Gary Shipton explained: “I am delighted that this newspaper is championing our independent businesses with our Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign.

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“The newspaper is very much at the heart of the local community, so it’s appropriate that we should be offering our support – and, hopefully, the support of our loyal readers as well – to the many unique outlets at the heart of our town centres and surrounding areas.

“Our high streets have been squeezed for many years by out-of-town developments and increasing use of the internet, but they are now making a resurgence and it’s up to us to help ensure that they not only survive but prosper in the future.

Increasingly, shopping is being seen as a leisure pursuit and, while the town centres must adapt to that by ensuring the facilities are up to standard and the night-time economy is supported and sustainable, we can play a part, too.

“Every pound spent locally can have huge benefits for the area, helping local businesses which, in turn, will employ local people.

“Over the course of this year, we will be throwing the spotlight on some of the successful businesses in the area, while bringing you great deals to allow you to sample some of the fantastic products and services they have on offer.

“And, as well as regular slots in the paper, you can check out our stories and videos online, as well as following us, and our sister papers, across the country on Twitter using the hashtag #jpshoplocal.

“Together, we can make a difference.

“Although the Centre for Retail Research last year predicted a tough time for the traditional high street, it said that it would be destinations like ours that would do well.

“These are high streets serving a mainly prosperous hinterland; areas of growth, new housing and young families; easy-to-reach tourist areas aimed at middle-income families; and areas where unemployment is low. It said the best performers would be areas like the south east.

“So let’s protect our independent traders.

“Please play your part by pledging to Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local!”