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Campaign to keep it local when you spend

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ISLANDERS are being urged to buy locally to help Guernsey businesses at a critical time as they fight back from the financial fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the shutters now up and open signs displayed, the States has launched a Lord Kitchener-style ‘your island needs you’ campaign.

Unemployment figures trebled over the course of lockdown to 1,631 and most businesses experienced a massive drop in revenue, or no revenue at all.

The attention-grabbing campaign aims to build on the ethos of Guernsey Together, which demonstrated that the Bailiwick’s success in beating Covid-19 was based on collaborative, not singular, effort.

The message is simple – if you buy local, you are keeping the Guernsey pound in local butchers, fishmongers, restaurants, beauticians, shops, department stores, garden centres and hardware stores.

Launching the initiative, Economic Development president Charles Parkinson said it had never been more important to rally together as a community to strengthen the local economy, support one another and support Guernsey.

‘We understand that this has been an extremely challenging time for local retailers,’ said Deputy Parkinson.

‘As we emerge from lockdown, it is vital that we show much-needed support to those Guernsey businesses which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

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‘Our local retailers need us. We can help keep them in business. So, as much as you can, please buy local and support your community whenever possible. We thank you. We are Guernsey Together.’

Yesterday marked 56 consecutive days of no new known cases of Covid-19 in the island, so attention has focused more on the ‘Revive and Thrive’ recovery strategy which aims to kick-start the economy, and build back better within three years.

The drive to show some love to Guernsey companies has been welcomed by the Chamber of Commerce.

Executive director Kay Leslie said that small businesses had been particularly hit by the lockdown, but looking forward it was not all doom and gloom.

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‘We have had some businesses closing and there have been some very emotional phone calls that we’ve dealt with and it’s very sad when you hear about businesses that have been going for in excess of 10 years and through no fault of their own they’ve had to close, but fortunately the number of businesses that have had to do that at this point is relatively small,’ she said.

‘I think in general terms the feedback that we’re getting is that there is a fairly positive feeling, even though no one is under the illusion that we’re out of the woods yet.’

Ms Leslie added that members had been happy with the way Guernsey had handled the crisis, and it had elevated the island’s reputation as a good place to do business.

Local shops and service providers have put in lots of effort to ensure their environments are safe so that consumers can have confidence to go out and spend.

Lockdown also accelerated their endeavours to tap into the online market and take on the global giants like Amazon.

With money tight, Ms Leslie said that even small actions and thinking before clicking can make a big difference.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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