At the heart of our towns

Penicuik town centre precinct
Penicuik town centre precinct

I am delighted that the Advertiser is championing our independent businesses with our ‘Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local’ campaign, writes editor Jo Robinson.

The newspaper is very much at the heart of the local community so it’s appropriate that we should be offering our support – and, hopefully, the support of our loyal readers as well – to the many unique outlets at the heart of our town centres and surrounding areas.

Our high streets have been squeezed for many years by out-of-town developments and increasing use of the internet, but they are now making a resurgence and it’s up to us to help ensure that they not only survive but prosper in the future.

Increasingly, shopping is being seen as a leisure pursuit and, while the town centres must adapt to that by ensuring the facilities are up to standard and the night-time economy is supported and sustainable, we can play a part too.

Every pound spent locally can have huge benefits for the area, helping local businesses which, in turn, will employee local people.

Gordon Henderson, Senior Development Manager, Scotland with the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses in our town centres are vital to our local communities, they generate wealth, employment and opportunity.

“FSB research has shown that £1 spent locally with a small business generates an additional spend of 63p locally so shopping local pays for everyone.

“We want to encourage people to use the independent businesses on their high streets and celebrate the uniqueness and flavour that they bring to their communities.

“Congratulations on your Shop Local campaign, it mirrors our Keep Trade Local campaign and is something we will be pleased to support.”

The FSB is working with the Scottish Parliament as it looks at the impact of small supermarkets on our town centres.

Responding to concerns raised across the country, the parliament’s Public Petitions Committee has asked the FSB to outline its position on the impact these stores are having on the high street.

The FSB believes our high streets need a mix of shops and other businesses. Diversity is key if we want to turn around our town centres.

The FSB added: “Some argue that small supermarkets bring more people into an area and boost footfall, while others feel that yet another supermarket on their doorstep will drive out the locally-owned shops which have delivered jobs and held communities together for years. We look forward to making the case for more action to help small businesses survive and thrive.”

Over the course of this year, we will be throwing the spotlight on some of the successful businesses in the area, while bringing you great deals to allow you to sample some of the fantastic products and services they have on offer.

And, as well as regular slots in the paper, you can check out our stories and videos online, as well as following us, and our sister papers, across the country on Twitter using the hashtag #jpshoplocal.

Please play your part by pledging to ‘Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local’!