Over the next few weeks during the run up to Christmas the council will be running a social media campaign to shine a light on the resilient independent businesses that have adapted in light of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as being there to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
Showing business profile videos capturing the day-to-day running of a range of industries, from hospitality to retail – the campaign will also include facts about the many reasons to shop local, including how the money stays in the local economy, helping to improve St Helens as a place to live and visit; retains jobs; can be better for the environment – and support the dreams of local business owners.
Encouraging residents to buy local, Labour Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, says: “This year has been extremely tough on our businesses, many of whom have been required to close on more than one occasion through no fault of their own.
“We have a thriving community of independent businesses across the borough of St Helens that need our support more than ever.
“I know there are residents nervous about going out to shops, and that’s understandable, however there are still ways to support our fantastic businesses that have online, telephone and home delivery services.
“These businesses have been there for us during the darkest of hours – carrying out vital community work for the benefit of our most vulnerable that have been hard -hit as a result of the pandemic, and now it’s time for us to replay the favour.
“Please support a local business – they are the lifeblood of our town and district centres.”
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, St Helens Borough Council has helped businesses to adapt their offer, continuing trading when possible like the licensing team issuing new licenses to allow pubs and restaurants to carry out takeaway services, or environmental health working closely with them to ensure they are Covid-compliant.
Meanwhile the economic development and finance teams have worked together to pay out more than £29m in government grants to more than 3,000 businesses, with the council now making payments from a Liverpool City Region Hospitality and Leisure Expanded Grant Scheme. This new grant scheme is currently taking applications from small and micro businesses (including market traders and home-based businesses) operating within or supplying the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, that have been ineligible for previous grant programmes.
Commenting on how much it means to receive public support, Jack Forster, whose family-run farm shop in Moss Bank is just one of several businesses featured in the campaign, said:
“Apart from the family that work at the farm, we also have some fantastic staff that have worked exceptionally hard through these challenging times. They’ve had to adapt; new measures, get used to wearing face masks all day – but all of them have kept their head down and worked really hard for us, and it’s made this shop progress further than we ever thought it would.
“By supporting a local, small independent business like ours you’re also generating money for the local area. We appreciate all our current customers bearing with us and being patient in these challenging times. It’s been a big difference for us and our daily routine, but we are getting there and hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Don’t forget, St Helens Borough Council has a dedicated portal on its website where you can find out which businesses are still operating. Visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/sthelensisopen
To request for your businesses to be added to the page, email firstname.lastname@example.org