29 July 2020, 08:25 AM
  • The Scotland Loves Local drive has launched to urge Scots to ‘think local first’ and support independent shops amid the coronavirus crisis
Scotland encourages local shopping with new campaign

A new initiative is urging Scottish shoppers to support independent retailers in order to boost their recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The Scotland Loves Local campaign, which was coordinated by Scotland’s Towns Partnership with the support of the Scottish Government, encourages consumers to make the most of local fine food retailers before travelling to shop or turning to online options.

Two-thirds of Scots say they will prioritise local shopping to boost independent retailers as lockdown restrictions ease, according to a poll in The Herald. The survey found that 88% of Scots think it is vital that the general public supports their local high street.

There is evidence to show that consumers across the UK have become more locally conscious since the start of the pandemic, with support for small, local and independent businesses growing even as consumer confidence remains low.

Businesses across Scotland have been working with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), local authorities and others to put in place arrangements to allow people to shop locally, but safely. This includes the use of screens, distance markers and signage, the provision of hand sanitizer instore and capacity limits.

St Andrews BID welcomed the campaign, which it will support alongside its own Love Local Love St Andrews initiative, reports The Courier. Independent businesses in the town have benefited from a Business Improvement District Resilience Fund, as well as innovating to provide online and takeaway options. Masterchef finalist Dean Banks, who was forced to close his restaurant Haar, decided to provide a delivery service that saw lobster, crab and champagne boxes being sent from St Andrews across the UK.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP says Scots have a role to play in the country’s economic recovery through shopping, eating and drinking locally. “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.

The campaign has also seen support from the National Farmers Union of Scotland President Andrew McCornick. “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,” he says.

“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.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said now is the time for the community to come together to get local businesses back on their feet. “By thinking local first, we can help Scotland’s economic recovery from its grassroots, supporting our town centres within all of the public safety guidelines. The impact we can have by doing this should not be underestimated.”

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