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Have you noticed a resurgence of buy local initiatives on your patch? I certainly have and applaud the efforts of those behind them. And interestingly, it’s not just about local food and drink producers either.

Most of these initiatives have been created by groups of small independent business people to help them survive as sales have declined during the Covid-19 pandemic, but I wonder if there is now the danger that as the recovery takes hold, people will revert to their old habits, simply because of convenience or cost factors as budgets are squeezed?

It will be a huge shame if that does happen, as the decisions that purchasers make have important implications for the circulation of wealth within communities, the long-term sustainability of businesses and of course jobs. They also have the potential to aid local economic prosperity in the short-term by breathing new life into town centre and village locations, not to mention the circular economy.

Prowse & Co. has long helped locations achieve their economic development objectives, working with national and local government, town centre management teams, shopping centres, high streets and business improvement districts. This place marketing expertise means we understand the underlying benefits of ‘Buy Local’ campaigns and how they may be used to sustain communities in the longer term to create real cultural change.

We love to bring people together united with a common purpose, and ‘Buy Local’ campaigns are enjoyable to run. The most effective campaigns have been based on partnership approaches kickstarted by local authority support which helps to extend their reach and deliver results.

Larger companies also need to be encouraged to make a positive commitment in their purchasing choices and in promoting the value of procurement spend to the local economy. This is where LEPs, local authorities, chambers and BIDs need to be involved, pro-actively demonstrating how using a local supplier can sustain jobs not to mention create opportunities for apprentices and young people.

Of course, during the pandemic local trade web portals have been a lifeline for some and I expect to see more of these rolling out in the coming months. But now these small initiatives need financial support from government to help them thrive and become sustainable and hopefully self-financing in the longer term.

Small, local businesses have stepped up brilliantly to support their local communities at a time of crisis – now we need to ensure their efforts are rewarded and reciprocated in the longer term. If you’d like to discover more about how we can help your local community develop and roll-out a campaign, do get in touch.

#BuyLocal campaigns help local communities thrive. Here's my blog on why we need to support these initiatives longer term & not just in times of crisis.

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