It seems that the Thursday night clapping with our neighbours will soon be a distant memory, as will our cycle trips through empty streets, our excitement at the re-opening of a local coffee shop, or the pleasant chats with the owner of the corner shop or the beloved local grocer.
Of course, it could not last forever. But as we start to pick up our new normal routines and go back to work, will we remember the warmth of these simple moments, the power of community, the value of local business?
Lest we forget… here are 10 things to remember post-lockdown about our neighbourly entrepreneurs:
1. Local businesses drive your local economy
They create jobs for friends and neighbours, they were also quick to respond to the lockdown offering local deliveries and even finding shortage items like yeast and flour. At our GLOWS workspace our makers started making bright, re-usable masks almost immediately.
2. They create demand for other services from accountants to cleaners from builders to plumbers
Businesses need services – their pipes get clogged, their windows need replacing, their floors need sweeping. Every shop, café, or other enterprise creates more work for other businesses, strengthening the economic cycle in the area.
3. They bring activity and vibrancy to your area
Which makes us all feel a part of something and creates a sense of belonging
4. They create community
Countless small exchanges and connections are the bedrock of community. For some people they are the only conversation they will have all day. Each interaction adds to our sense of well-being.
5. They provide services for your neighbours who cannot travel far
Tried to get a TESCO delivery recently? Local shops are essential for vulnerable households, those shielding from COVID and anyone with mobility issues. They are the reliable, friendly face of business.
6. They are far more likely to employ those who would struggle to commute.
Local businesses give the chance for those who are disabled or are caring for others to work close to where they live – without these opportunities to work in their neighbourhood, many would be stuck at home or unable to make a living.
7. Their owners are much more likely to represent the whole diversity of your community
They are the face of your community. At Tree Shepherd we have met people from all over the world, working in Elephant and Castle shopping centre, running the markets at Church Street, bringing something new, authentic and diverse to our everyday shopping.
8 & 9 Buying locally is better for us, and for the environment
It’s an obvious one – but the carbon footprint is dramatically less if you buy local. And together with that, it is better for you. Cycle or walk in the fresh air, pick up your local groceries and meet some neighbours along the way.
10. Local businesses are not just for Covid they need your support all year round
Local businesses need us – always! Not just for COVID. The high street is continuously bashed by big corporates like Amazon, and their seductive offers. But when the chips are down, we need local businesses, and they need us in the good times. Why don’t you give yourself a challenge – and buy local for the next week?
Buy Local – and keep the good feeling of being a part of your community.