With Christmas just around the corner, we now have an ideal opportunity to provide some festive cheer to the small businesses on our high streets who have endured such a difficult year.
Small Business Saturday on December 5th is the perfect time to shop locally and show our support for independent retailers. We have all heard some fantastic stories of shops and businesses right across the constituency who have bent over backwards to support their customers and neighbours. I am particularly grateful to those retailers who prioritised their elderly and vulnerable customers to ensure they had everything they needed. Many have made their innovations permanent by offering online shopping, telephone ordering, click and collect and local deliveries. I know it’s not always possible to completely ignore the larger supermarkets and online shops but spending in our local high streets directly benefits our communities. From our local butchers, green grocers, beauticians, bookstores and our favourite takeaway, there are many gifts/vouchers we can purchase for Christmas. However, as we look to the New Year, let’s remember that shopping local is for life not just for Christmas.
For those of you in businesses there is plenty of support available online; pop your postcode in the small business finder https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/small-business-finder to find a wealth of advice, support and stories of how fellow business owners have overcome their hurdles and achieved success. Small Business Saturday UK also has a facebook page which offers daily live sessions as well as running a virtual tour of UK businesses offering support and advice.
For the social media users amongst us, please spread the word about the products and the experiences, to promote the local businesses we use. Your recommendation could create that one extra sale that makes all the difference so please do show off your purchases online using the hashtags #ShopSmall #ShopLocal #SmallBizSatUk.
Another industry heavily affected by Covid is the arts – particularly our smaller theatres whose doors have been closed since March. The Albert Hall in Llandrindod Wells is one such theatre. It’s a magnificent theatre and I was delighted to watch the Young Farmers Club drama night there back in February.
Throughout the pandemic, the theatre has been kept busy by fundraising to refurbish their toilets. One way we can help them, is by becoming ‘Ah Friend’ of the Albert Hall. It costs £12 a year, and as well as keeping up to date with all their events and activities you will also be entered into their Friends draw.
It has been a tough year for all of us but Christmas provides a time for us to look forward to. I hope we can find ways to spread joy as far as we can but particularly in our high streets. That way, when life starts to look familiar again, our precious communities will be thriving once again.
Fay Jones MP
Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire