With the Christmas shopping season now in full swing, The Southern Reporter is again urging readers to give their backing to local traders.
Through our Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign we’ve been spreading the message about just how important it is to promote our town centres.
And now we’re delighted to support this year’s Small Business Saturday, which takes place on December 6.
The grassroots campaign highlights small business success and encourages consumers to support them.
The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year – but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact.
Editor Susan Windram said: ‘‘The Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign which we launched earlier this year has really resonated with our readers.
‘‘We have been delighted to play our part in encouraging more people into the town centres, whether it be to visit a shop, restaurant or leisure activity.
‘‘Small Business Saturday mirrors these aims and we hope people will take the theme on board and do more of their Christmas shopping locally, not just on the day itself, but throughout the festive period.’’
In the run-up to the event, organisers have taken to the roads to highlight the importance of the initiative, with its bus tour making its first stop at Leeds on November 17 and dropping in at various towns and other cities across the UK over the next few weeks.
Michelle Ovens, national campaign director, said: “The first Small Business Saturday last year was an exceptional example of collaboration and cooperation, with small businesses teaming up in communities around the UK.
‘’We always said we wanted this to be the start of something amazing; a regular event that shines a light on small businesses throughout the UK in a way that is hugely beneficial to both the local and the national economy.
“Small Business Saturday reinforces that message and demonstrates the level of diversity, innovation and talent that is active within our small business sector.”
The event also has support across the political spectrum and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna is fully behind it.
He said: “Small Business Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to get behind local small and independent businesses.
“They make our high streets more vibrant, create vital jobs, and help support the character of our villages, towns and cities.
“I called for the UK to have its version of Small Business Saturday in January of last year and after just a few months we managed to build a movement that led to massive success on the day.
“Councils got behind the day, as did business organisations, local newspapers and, above, all consumers across the country, who went on to spend almost half a billion pounds more in local firms on the day.
“We need to talk more about the idea of the ‘British Dream’, starting a business and getting on.
“Small Business Saturday supports just that and is a great way to encourage our entrepreneurs and the huge range of small businesses in every part of the UK.
“This year’s Small Business Saturday is set to be bigger and better. So, please put it in your diary and back your local shops and small firms.’’
How to take part
Small Business Saturday wants all kinds of small enterprises to get involved in the event, whether it be a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler or small manufacturer.
Log on to www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and click on the ‘Get Involved’ link. There you will be able to download a digital pack, sign up to get a local marketing pack and get a social media ‘shout out’ when you share your plans for the event.
The Southern is also keen to hear how shops in the area are planning to mark Small Business Saturday.
Let us know what you’re doing by leaving us a message on our Facebook page.