A rallying cry has been issued for people across Scotland to take action that will help save jobs, businesses and build a stronger future for their local communities.
The latest wave of the Scotland Loves Local campaign launches today (Monday, July 5) with a clear message: It has never been more critical to choose local.
Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), which is spearheading the drive with support from the Scottish Government, says positive personal decisions now can help the national recovery from Covid-19.
STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “In every community across Scotland, the power of choosing local and supporting businesses in our home areas should not be underestimated. As individuals, making the right choice has never been more important for our communities.
“As more options open up, we cannot afford to overlook the people and businesses who have been there when we needed them most during the pandemic.
“We need people to make a conscious decision to support those around them – whether for shopping, services, a meal with friends or a day out. By choosing local every time, we will make a tremendous difference to the fabric and fortunes of our communities.
“If there is a positive which has come from the pandemic it is the way that we have all embraced local life. We must enhance that during recovery so that we do not fall back into unsustainable habits of the past. The future of businesses and jobs around us depends upon it.”
The Scotland Loves Local campaign, launched last summer championing the message for people to think local first, has supported projects and groups across the region.
The Choose Local message is being supported by a major marketing campaign in which local businesses and organisations are being urged to get involved.
Ali Haider, who has owned Stalks and Stems Florist and Greengrocers on Pollockshaws Road in Shawlands, Glasgow, for 21 years, is one of the campaign champions.
He is among the local business people who has noticed an increase in people supporting local shops since the first coronavirus lockdown last year – a habit he hopes will continue.
Mr Haider said: “We need to promote local shops. We need people to support us.
“Before lockdown a number of small businesses were run down, but we’re now bringing them back and we’re seeing a big difference from before lockdown to now.
“Lots of people say they’re supporting local businesses now because they realise they’re so important.”
This summer will also see the rollout of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, which will give people another way in which to support businesses in their home region.
Businesses across the country are being urged to sign up to accept that ahead of shoppers being able to buy the cards. Purchases are processed via the Mastercard network.Support for the gift card – the first scheme of its kind on a national scale – is part of a package of Scottish Government support for Scotland Loves Local. You can read more about that here.