Aberdeenshire Council is throwing its weight behind the Scotland Loves Local campaign which encourages shoppers to think local first to support the economy in its recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scotland Loves Local has been launched by Scotland’s Towns Partnership with the support of the Scottish Government.

It encourages people to support shops, cafes, bars and restaurants in their own communities before thinking of travelling further afield or turning to online retail giants – and to do that responsibly by following all hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

Council Leader Cllr Jim Gifford said: “Our region’s economy, just like the rest of Scotland and the UK, has suffered terribly as a result of the pandemic and I very much welcome the launch of our ‘Scotland Loves Local – Aberdeenshire’ campaign.

“Aberdeenshire Council has provided significant support to businesses during the last six months through a number of schemes and initiatives, some of which were specifically devised by the Economic Development team and are unique to the local authority. We continue to stand 100% behind getting businesses back on their feet in the weeks and months to come.”

Belinda Miller, Head of Economic Development and Protective Services, added: “It is vitally-important we all remember that each and every purchase we make in our local shops – whether it be a loaf of bread, a coffee, new clothes or a meal – is reinvested in the local economy, supporting that business and the people they employ.

“All Aberdeenshire businesses but especially, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants will be encouraged to download the local logo and use it in any way they deem suitable to promote their business, remind and actively inspire people to shop local in Aberdeenshire. For social media, they will also be encouraged to use the hashtag #ScotlandLovesLocal, to link with the national campaign.”

Scotland Loves Local has been launched amid polling for Scotland’s Towns Partnership which highlighted the willingness of Scots shoppers to support their town centres.

The poll, which surveyed over 1,000 Scottish adults, found that:

•         66% say they are going to prioritise shopping locally when the high streets reopen following coronavirus restrictions

•         64% say the future of their town centre depends on whether or not local people support them

•         88% say it is vital that the general public support their local high street

Businesses across the country have been working with local authorities, Business Improvement Districts 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 sanitiser instore and capacity limits. All shoppers are being strongly urged to follow Scottish Government hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “The impact of coronavirus has hit our town centres and local businesses hard. Now is the time for us all 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, 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.

“One of the great positives of the terrible times in which we have found ourselves has been the greater appreciation of localism. We must now harness that to keep our communities vibrant and lay firm foundations as we work to ensure our town centres are fit for the future.”

ENDS

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