The message for everyone across country to choose local is growing ever louder as support for the Scotland Loves Local campaign grows.
Businesses and business groups across the country are flying the flag for the drive as people urge others around them to back businesses in their community – helping them to recover from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic while also laying firm foundations for a stronger future.
Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by Scotland’s Town’s Partnership (STP) with the support of the Scottish Government.
We have spoken to a few of the organisations embracing the spirit of #ScotlandLovesLocal, encouraging their family, friends and neighbours to #ChooseLocal to find out how they have been doing it.
My Shawlands Business Improvement District
Businesses in Shawlands have fronted much of the current phase of Scotland Loves Local, appearing the latest STV advert and social media drive for people to Choose Local.
Manager Lisa McLaughlin,, who has worked with businesses in the area for the past five-and-a-half years, describes the support of local people as “critical”.
She said: “Support has definitely increased over the past 15 or 16 months, with many people working from home.
“With less commuting, lots of residents have had a bit more time to explore what’s on their doorstep and have been pleasantly surprised by businesses they had not previously used.”
Neil Cunningham, of John W McGraddie’s Butchers, is among those who features.
Highlighting the importance of the campaign, he explained: “People must support their local shops and other businesses. If they don’t, they won’t be here.”
Among the initiatives in Shawlands to encourage people to spend time in their home community and back local businesses is an art trail, which is proving a colourful addition to the area.
Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce
The Loves Local campaign has been helping hundreds of Dunbartonshire businesses by encouraging local people to shop local, think local and support local enterprises.
The campaign, led by Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, has been rolled out in five towns across Dunbartonshire – Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Alexandria, Dumbarton and Clydebank – along with Balloch, Loch Lomond.
Damon Scott, Project Co-ordinator and Chief Executive of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have been delighted by the support we have had from the local business community and our partners to get behind the Loves Local campaign.
“All of the areas we have been working in now have a Loves Local website featuring a business directory supported by social media, PR and Advertising campaigns to promote the shop local message. We also printed and distributed 100,000 flyers highlighting some of the fantastic businesses that have signed up with us in each town.
“It remains as important as ever to support our fantastic local businesses. By buying local we can all ensure that our shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses survive and thrive. It is more sustainable and better for the environment, reduces our carbon footprint and helps to build a fairer, greener society.”
“As a Chamber we look forward to continuing our efforts to promote and share such an important message and are delighted to confirm our sponsorship of the initiative to this end.”
Businesses have been responding very positively to the campaign which has helped bring much-needed promotional support to boost awareness and sales.
Sian Wilkie, from Wilkie and Rider opticians and jewellers in Dumbarton and Alexandria, said: “The Loves Local campaigns in both Dumbarton and the Vale have been great for raising the profile of our business among members of the community, and have encouraged people to think – and shop – more locally.”
Peter O’Neil from Bishopbriggs School of Music said: “In these very difficult times the Loves Local team have been a godsend to us. They worked very hard at getting everyone’s message out and I would say they have provided us with 10 new students who saw their post about our music school.”
Go Forth Stirling
Go Forth Stirling has embraced the Scotland Loves Local campaign and the way it champions local businesses.
The BID, a winner in last year’s Scotland Loves Local High Street Heroes Awards, has also launched its own range of initiatives to support the city’s many independent traders since the start of the pandemic.
These include the Independent Stirling campaign which highlights the city’s flourishing independent scene and promotes the stories and personalities behind these unique businesses.
Independent Stirling focuses on the contribution and individuality of the city’s entrepreneurs and includes a new website dedicated to featuring them – www.independentstirling.co.uk – and ‘I’m In’ stickers for business owners to display in their windows.
The BID has also been involved in the #ThistlesHelps initiative which will see the Centre giving one emerging local business the chance to take ownership of a retail unit within the Thistles free of charge for a three-month period.
Go Forth Stirling Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith said: “Go Forth Stirling has been a big supporter of the Scotland Loves Local campaign and we are huge advocates of its core message that it has never been more important to support local businesses.
“In Stirling, we are lucky to have a wide range of independent traders and the city has seen more than 20 new businesses open their doors since the start of the pandemic.
“They are flourishing and we’re delighted to be able to support them with a range of initiatives like the Independent Stirling campaign which has been welcomed by our traders since we launched the project last month.
“They are all getting involved by displaying stickers in their windows which highlight the independent scene and encourage people to shop and support local businesses.
“We’ve also filmed a promotional video for the campaign featuring 20 businesses and including a narration by Stirling’s Makar Laura Fyfe.”
On the drive to choose local, Ms McRorie-Smith added: “It’s essential now more than ever that people continue to #ChooseLocal shops and services as our businesses open up fully following the lifting of restrictions.
“Our local businesses have been there for us throughout the pandemic – adapting to restrictions to remain viable and serving and supporting their local communities as best they could.
“Now is the time for us to support them during recovery so they can thrive and grow – bringing more jobs into our community and improving and enhancing our local high streets.
“I would urge local people to come and see what Stirling has to offer and to support our amazing shops, restaurants, attractions, cafes and many other local businesses.
“Always Choose Local if you can so we can make a real difference to the fortunes and futures of our hard-working local traders.”
Hamilton Our Town
Hamilton Our Town Business Improvement District has been at the heart of efforts to improve the town and promote businesses.
The BID has completed work on the former Baird’s department store façade to improve the look and feel of the town and get across the ‘shop local’ message. Following agreement from Wetherspoons, who recently bought the building and hopes to open early next year, Hamilton Our Town partnered with local businesses to create an artistic front for the unit.
To support businesses, the BID has also been offering a free pack of PPE worth up to £100 alongside free advertising in local press, the town’s main carpark and across the BID’s social media platforms.
To help increase the attractiveness and viability of public space, they have also partnered with businesses to create an outdoor hospitality seating area, and have been involved in a town centre clean-up and painting activities, working in partnership with the local authority.
Looking forward, Hamilton Our Town will plan to launch a new website to support local businesses, and are working with the local council on a dedicated town centre app.
BID manager Malcolm Thomas-Harley said: “One of our aims is to help people reconnect with the town centre and it’s many businesses and in turn support footfall and spending.
“Due to the funding support awarded from STP we are introducing a brand new town centre led market each Saturday in August. These markets located on the main street (Quarry Street), will showcase our local businesses, provide new variety, family entertainment and encourage shopping in our existing BID area businesses.”
- Stay up to date with the latest from the campaign by following #ScotlandLovesLocal and #ChooseLocal on social media
- How is your community supporting the Scotland Loves Local campaign? Share your news by emailing [email protected]