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Scotland Loves Local campaign poll shows strong Christmas support for region’s local shops as Government lifts Level 4 measures

Shoppers across Renfrewshire are being urged to think safety first, local first and support local shops as coronavirus restrictions ease.

Town centre leaders have made the appeal as a poll for the Scotland Loves Local campaign found that more than half of people in the region agree it’s important they back local businesses when Christmas shopping.

Non-essential shops closed as part of Level 4 Covid-19 mitigation measures covering Renfrewshire and 10 other council regions will be allowed to reopen from 6am today (Friday).

And, as people look to complete their Christmas gift buying, Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) – the organisation spearheading Scotland Loves Local – and the Paisley First Business Improvement District are urging shoppers to prioritise supporting shops close to them before travelling further afield.

STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “There are a fantastic range of shops in Renfrewshire’s local shopping areas. The best Christmas present we can give them is for people to shop as close to home as they can, supporting local shops, whether in person or online.

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“With the festive season vital for the survival of so many businesses, it’s never been more important to think local first.

“Staying local is also the most sensible thing we can do. While we want people to support their local high streets, we’re asking them to do so safely, within all public health rules and not to all rush to major shopping centres at once.”

People are asked not to inundate small shops and think about how and when to shop to avoid overcrowding.

Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “Paisley town centre is open for business and locals can be assured that our town centre businesses are working hard within the guidelines to keep staff, customers and our local community safe.

“Our local businesses need your support more than ever so we would urge locals to put Paisley first when it comes to Christmas Shopping.

“We have everything you need for all your Christmas shopping and the majority of our businesses across retail, health, hair and beauty and food and drink all sell gift cards if you want to give the gift of choice this Christmas.

“Plus we have our free festive trail, the Christmas Buddie Bear Hunt, paying tribute to our key workers – all the bears are on display inside business windows so it’s the perfect activity to help the kids have some fun and some fresh air while you get your Christmas shopping sorted.

“And who knows, maybe you will be one of our Golden Ticket winners with £250 of town centre vouchers each up for grabs for 14 lucky winners.”

Polling commissioned by the Scotland Loves Local campaign has confirmed the strong will of shoppers to support local businesses this festive season. In the West of Scotland Scottish Parliamentary constituency, it found:

  • More than half of people (54%) agreed it’s important they do as much Christmas shopping as they can from their local high street, either in store or online, rather than going further afield.

  • Two-thirds (66%) of those questioned said they would go into stores on their local high street to do some Christmas shopping.

  • 67% said they would do some Christmas shopping from stores on their local high street online where able to do so.

Phil Prentice added: “We know that more local businesses than ever before are operating online. So, whether in person or on the internet, we must all think local first. It’s critical to supporting our communities through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The polling was carried out by the Diffley Partnership.

Mark Diffley, Founder and Director of the Diffley Partnership, said: “At this vital time for the high street, there is clearly a strong sense of festive goodwill among the public to help.”

Scotland’s Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy and support local jobs.

“This Christmas, I want to encourage people to think how they can safely support this. I want to appeal to all Christmas shoppers to make sure they stay safe, protect themselves and others by following the FACTS guidance, and ensure towns and shops are not overwhelmed so we are not spreading the virus.

“Covid-19 has meant everyone has experienced a difficult year. The only way we will get through is by sticking together, being kind, and offering help where it is needed, even more so over the Christmas time.”

For more information about getting involved with the Scotland Loves Local campaign, go to www.lovelocal.scot.