Festive shoppers in Northumberland urged to keep it local this Christmas

Christmas shoppers in Northumberland are being urged to shop local during lockdown and beyond.

Thursday, 19th November 2020, 6:00 am

Traders at the heart of their local communities are desperately in need of a boost in the crucial build up the festive season.

The second lockdown has come at a terrible time for them but many have adapted by improving their online offer and introducing a click and collect service.

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Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade.

They are also working hard to welcome shoppers back into stores when lockdown is lifted.

Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade and owner of menswear shop Hotspur 1364, said: “Alnwick is so lucky to have a solid supporting population lots of who already commit to shopping local.

“This year has been particularly testing and we all know why, it’s more important than ever that we all support local this year.

“Lockdown gave us a glimpse of life without a high street with premises closed and empty shop windows, but also it was our small independent businesses that were agile enough to pivot overnight and deliver when some of the big chains simply had no option but to pull down the shutters.

Mandy Aitman of M A Tailoring in Alnwick.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this Christmas is going to be a tough one for us all, but rest assured Alnwick Chamber of Trade members are pulling out the stops to deliver a safe shopping environment as full of festive cheer as is possible."

A recent Big Conversation survey run across all JPIMedia titles found that footfall has dropped in Northumberland town centres and shopping habits have changed as a result of the pandemic.

The results from Northumberland indicate that 80% of people are visiting their local town centre less than they did previously.

However, 53.7% said they were supporting local businesses more since the pandemic began and 73.4% agreed with the statement: "The Christmas period will be a good opportunity to support local businesses."

Mandy Aitman, owner of M A Tailoring on Bow Alley in Alnwick, said: “This is only my second year and it was doing really great until the pandemic.

"Since we reopened in mid-June I’ve noticed a lot of locals coming in to support us rather than heading elsewhere.”

Mandy, who has turned to making colourful face masks during the pandemic, added: "I think that’s the case for a lot of the local traders but it’s hard and their support is going to be very important to us in the weeks and months ahead.”

Northumberland County Council is also encouraging residents to Shop Local, Shop Northumberland to support the economy in its recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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