Rallying cry to support local shops

Traders back the campaign
Traders back the campaign
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The Evening Post has launched a campaign to support our local economy and celebrate the success of Lancashire’s retailers.

We are urging people to ‘Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local’ to help ensure traders across the county continue to play a prominent role.

The campaign is encouraging people to use local shops. We know times are tight but we want shoppers to discover the benefits of supporting our local high street.

Whether it’s buying meat from your butcher, fruit and veg from a greengrocer or a coffee in an independent café, the campaign is all about experiencing the best local retailers.

Mark Whittle, from Preston’s Business Improvement District, said: “Preston is no doubt a great place to shop, eat and play.

“It has the best regional offer of independent businesses, which is something that really sets it apart.

“Coupled with the high-street favourites, there isn’t anything that can’t be bought or sampled in Preston.”

His comments come following the results of BID’s annual general public survey which was brimming with positive remarks about the city.

Mark explains: “We survey 1,000 people visiting Preston and the comments received are more positive this year than any other year since the survey began in 2009.

“There is a resurgence of pride for our city centre, its business, events and activities, something that together, we can build on even more.

“Many of the visitors surveyed don’t live or work in Preston, but this is their shopping and leisure destination of choice, which speaks volumes about our offer.

“It’s clear there is still work to be done to improve and enhance what we have, but the businesses and agencies like BID are constantly looking to improve the offer, promote the city as a destination and encourage people to visit time and time again.”

Preston’s Business Improvement (BID) began in 2009 following a successful ballot of members of the city centre business community who backed the group’s plans to improve trading conditions.

BID was re-elected in November 2011 to continue its work until at least March 2017.

The group is funded by businesses in the BID area that have a rateable business value of more than £10,000 a year.

Their contribution is then ring-fenced and spent only on activities that directly benefit Preston city centre, which are voted upon by the businesses that fund the work.

Mark says things are on the up in Preston and he is urging people to continue supporting local shops and businesses. He added: “The night time economy continues to raise the standard, an effective policing team and a willingness from venues to offer a first-class, good-value, experience is a constant.

“We were delighted that more than 7,000 people locally voted for their favourite venue in the Alive After Five Hospitality awards last year, showing a love for leisure in Preston.

“There are some obvious wins; our vacancy rate is under the national average, there’s huge opportunities ahead for Winckley Square, the Fishergate Gateway re-development is underway and has received significant positive feedback from Preston’s visitors.

“During 2014, our investment to animate the city centre, will be stronger than ever before.

“It will include the creation of a new family event, more Prestfest celebrations highlighting Preston’s Purple Flag status for a great night out, stronger financial support towards Christmas lights, an improved Christmas campaign and much more.”