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Shop local to boost our town centres

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SHOPPERS across Dumfries and Galloway are being urged to think local first as part of a major new campaign to help town centres in the fightback from Coronavirus. Scotland's Towns Partnership has launched ts Scotland Loves Local initiative - in association with the Scottish Government - encouraging everyone to safely back businesses at the heart of their home communities. The multi-media promotion - welcomed by prominent figures in the region - comes as the need to responsibly support town centres has never been greater as businesses battle to overcome the consequences of the massive disruption and temporary closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As reopenings - whether they be shops, hairdressers, pubs or cafes - gather pace in line with strong public health requirements, the aim of Scotland Loves Local is to encourage people to make the most of what's available close to them rather than immediately turning to large online retailers or travelling further afield. Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland's Towns Partnership, said: “The impact of coronavirus has hit our town centres and local businesses hard. Across Dumfries and Galloway we need to support them to get back on their feet in a way which recognises that we still need to stay safe and follow the public health guidelines. “By thinking local first, the impact we will have in supporting our economic recovery should not be underestimated. “Scotland Loves Local is all about getting people back to their roots and recognising that our town centre businesses and the people who run them are part of the fabric of our communities. Sometimes for generations these people have been there for us. Now it's time for us to be there for them.” Businesses 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. South of Scotland Enterprise Chair, Professor Russel Griggs OBE, said: “We very much welcome the launch of the Scotland Loves Local Campaign. “The lockdown has brought great uncertainty for businesses and the people they employ, and the full effects on the economy are not yet known. We would encourage people to shop locally – and safely - to support their high street. Every purchase we make, every item we buy, is a shop helped and a job supported. “As the Enterprise Agency for the South of Scotland, we are fully committed to supporting local businesses as they begin to recover from the pandemic, reopen their doors and welcome back customers safely.” The campaign has also been welcomed by National Farmers Union of Scotland President Andrew McCornick, who farms at Lochfoot near Dumfries. He recently wrote an open letter to shoppers urging them to support domestic food production while thanking them for their support of Scottish farmers and growers during the pandemic. Mr McCornick said: “As food producers, Scottish farmers, crofters and growers take great pride in what they produce – meeting some of the highest production and welfare standards in the world in order to guarantee the delivery of quality Scottish food and drink to tables throughout the country. “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the backing given to Scottish farming, food and drink has been unprecedented and has reinforced that shoppers value healthy, nutritious, local produce and the standards to which it has been grown or reared. It is clear that Scotland Loves Local. “NFU Scotland is delighted to support this campaign to boost the high street, and with it the butchers, farm shops, greengrocers and hospitality businesses which source from Scotland's extensive larder. Shopping local means you are supporting all the businesses involved in bringing high-quality produce from farm to fork.” Scotland Loves Local encourages people to show their support safely, following all social distancing and hygiene guidance shared by the Scottish Government as part of the ongoing vigilance to keep rates of Covid-19 suppressed. Scotland's Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, 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.”

<< back Published: 20 Jul 2020, 14:06

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