Support businesses close to home and help your community recover from the coronavirus pandemic, writes Phil Prentice of Scotland’s Towns Partnership.
As Scotland’s high streets reopen after months of lockdown it’s vital that none of us forgets this: the survival of local businesses depends on your support.
That’s why I am, once again, making the simple plea for us all to think local first and get behind the people and businesses in our communities. By doing so, you will help safeguard shops and services, making our towns, villages and neighbourhoods stronger, better places to live. You can provide a platform for a stronger future.
These are messages that many will have heard me say repeatedly over much of the past year. Yet they are ones which have only grown in importance as the disruption faced has increased.
As so many shops and those across the hospitality and leisure sectors reopen for the first time since Christmas, the best gift we can give those around us is to embrace the tremendous civic pride we have seen so often since March last year and show our support, whether that is by visiting in person or online.
Whether safely shopping, meeting friends or looking for a day out, this summer is the ideal time to rediscover what’s on our doorsteps and ensure we stick with one of the positives to emerge from the pandemic by turning first to those closest to home.
There is no hiding from the fact that the road to recovery from the consequences of coronavirus is going to be challenging. But we can only hope that the reopening of our high streets and other local businesses – hopefully permanently this time – can signal the start of a significant fightback and season of success, both in terms of beating the pandemic but also in our economy bouncing back.
We can give that the greatest chance by continuing to follow all government guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, as well as following the specific measures in operation at the places we visit.
At Scotland’s Towns Partnership we have been able to shine a spotlight of the remarkable work which has been taking place in our town centres since the pandemic took hold – and the amazing people who have made that happen – by spearheading the Scotland Loves Campaign. And we look forward to flying the flag for our amazing communities as we move through the crucial months ahead.
I truly believe that life after lockdown needs to have localism at its heart. We all now appreciate more now the need for a strong, safe, sustainable local life. Growing our economy from its grassroots is in the national interest.
Please be kind and considerate to those working in your local businesses as you return and do not forget these same firms when shopping online. Research by the team here at STP last year found that more than two-thirds of companies have the capacity to take online orders.
So many of our local businesses – and the people who work in them – have been there for us in remarkable ways since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. We must continue to be there for them not just now, but forever.
Phil Prentice is Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and National Director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts. Follow #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media. Twitter: @ScotlandsTowns / @Scot_IDs