How Just £5 Can Save Your Local High Street
I live in a great village with a vibrant High Street - 17 independent retailers, 10 restaurants & bars, 2 pubs, a Post Office, doctors, schools etc… but even our fabulous village has been struggling lately and there are always a few empty shops as independent businesses battle to make ends meet in the current unsettled economy of the UK High St. There are lots of reasons why; local bank closures, parking, lack of funding, economy, value for money but overwhelmingly the biggest impact on the change in our shopping habits has been the growth of online shopping.
We all love convenience, choice and value for money and online shopping is a haven for providing all of these but what about personal service, social interaction and a bit of healthy exercise?
And have we really given a second thought to how much we would miss our local High St if it disappeared? I know I would be heartbroken if I lost mine - many of the shopkeepers are my friends - but in order to keep it and keep it vibrant, I need to shop locally and much more often and so does everyone else.
“Independent businesses and shops are the bedrock of our communities, and when they thrive they create jobs, cohesive towns and strong economies” state Totally Local.
The media coverage of the plight of the High Street up to now has primarily focused on the big players and as consumers we may not have had too much sympathy for them. After all, they have homogenised our local towns and cities over the last few decades, with little thought for the smaller independents, stifling individuality and personal service. Unfortunately the demise of the high street and the growth of online shopping, not to mention the uncertainty of Brexit, is threatening the very existence of those small shopkeepers who have been the backbone of this green and pleasant land for centuries.
The recent High Street Report chaired by Sir John Timpson highlights how important it is for our well-being to feel a sense of belonging, to feel part of a community, to feel that we really matter and that our actions can have an impact on those around us.
“A town centre is more than just a place to shop, it’s about providing what people want and need from their community. It’s about creating places that people want to go to,” says Sir John.
What do we need to do to make a difference and boost our local High St? Very little - just shop regularly - spending as little as £5 a week will really make a difference, use local services where possible and get involved in local events. Many towns led by inspirational individuals are embracing the opportunities that the change in retail is bringing. By organising events, providing local services, encouraging community initiatives, promoting individuality and highlighting quality local products they are breathing new life into their High Streets and giving local residents an identity and pride in where they live. Online shopping is here to stay and for most of us it is life enhancing but it doesn’t need to be exclusive - adopting a mixed approach will benefit us all.
There are big changes afoot in just about every area of our lives, we can either retreat into our own little world or we can get involved to improve our own environments and it couldn’t be simpler than making a little effort to spend some of our hard earned cash locally.
This week 8-15th June is The Totally Local National Fiver Fest which sees over 40 towns and High Streets putting on special £5 offers over 1 week, to show the diversity and value of what they sell, and to say thank you to the communities that support them.
“If every adult in the UK spent just £5 per week in their local shops and businesses it would be worth £13.5 billion - this money would be going directly back into our towns which means real jobs, better facilities and nicer places to live.” - Totally Local
When it finally stops raining take a walk down your local High Street, browse a little, spend a little, live locally a little…..
“Because supporting each other makes a thriving local economy and makes our town a better place to live, work & visit”
What is your favourite shop on the high street?