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Scotland’s Towns Partnership has launched a ‘Love Local’ campaign encouraging everyone to support businesses at the heart of their community.
The campaign seeks to remind all those living in Scotland, including Oban, that town centres are not just a series of buildings and pavements – they are made up of people – and harness the compassion and solidarity that was shown by communities during the coronavirus outbreak to help fuel the recovery.
The campaign follows publication of new polling figures which showed two thirds of Scottish residents intended to shop locally once high streets reopened and that the success of town centres depends on local support.
Businesses across Scotland have been working with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), local councils and others to put in place arrangements so people can shop locally, but safely.
The Love Local campaign has received the support of Andy Spence, chief executive of Bid4Oban, who urged people in the town to get behind it.
He said Scotland’s Towns Partnership had helped the BID group with a number of initiatives during lockdown and now, as Oban emerges from it.
A new initiative to help with the town’s recovery are Love Oban vouchers – designed to be bought as a gift, such as birthday or wedding presents.
The aim is to encourage people to buy a voucher and then give it as a gift which can be redeemed in up to 80 participating local businesses.
Starting at £10, the vouchers are available to purchase from Button Nose Boutique, Alba Artshop, The Sports Shop, Intersport, Oban Photographic Centre, the BID4Oban office and Etive Restaurant.
With help from the Scotland Towns Partnership, BID4Oban were able to advertise those businesses which had managed to keep operating during lockdown and help keep vital custom coming their way.
The ‘Open For Business’ section featured both on the website of The Oban Times and every week in the paper – being seen by a regular audience of thousands of people. It helped promote the local economy, and spotlight success stories of those locally who had nimbly adapted to the crisis and kept going.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP also supports the new campaign.
She commented: ‘It is now more vitally important than ever to consider shopping, eating and drinking locally as we all have a role to play in Scotland’s economic recovery.
‘Simple steps like choosing to visit a nearby shop or café, or buying goods or services from a business in your own community, helps support jobs and goes a long way to fostering the vibrant selection of products and services on offer close to home.
‘By following the public health advice, we can all make exploring what the neighbourhood has to offer as safe as possible.
‘I would encourage everyone who is able to head out and discover for themselves what living locally can offer them – I know that business owners at the heart of our communities will appreciate it immensely.’
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.
‘The breadth of businesses in our town centres is vast. Whether you need a book, a pint of milk, a night out and a meal or some garden furniture, please think local first.
‘Scotland Loves Local is all about getting people back to their roots and recognising that our town centre businesses and the people who run them are part of the fabric of our communities. Sometimes for generations these people have been there for us. Now it’s time for us to be there for them.’