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Published 10 September 2020

Residents in West Dunbartonshire are being encouraged to ‘think local first’ and support local businesses as part of a new Council campaign.

The Love Local campaign has been developed by West Dunbartonshire Council, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and Business Gateway to support  local business owners who have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown to deliver vital services.

Businesses in Dumbarton, Clydebank, Alexandria and Balloch  town centres will be offered a variety of marketing materials and business support intended to encourage increased footfall in the areas.

The campaign will also highlight how local businesses have adapted to support public health guidelines, as well as reassure communities that town centres have reopened safely with enhanced safety measures in place.

The campaign, which is being launched on October 5 following a successful application for funding from the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, will run alongside the national campaign Scotland Loves Local.

It is being run by the Council, in partnership with Dumbarton Chamber of Commerce and Business Gateway after the Council was awarded £25,000 of funding to help support local businesses through the impact of Covid-19.

Support on offer includes a toolkit with posters, loyalty cards, social media banners, window vinyls and floor vinyls to ensure physical distancing within stores.

Business owners can also take advantage of opportunities to meet with local advisers to discuss ways to grow their business; receive one-to-one support from a digital expert on how to improve online presence; access up to date market information to help them spot opportunities and make informed decisions, and also get access to reports to help them better understand the market. 

Additional one-to-one specialist support can be provided through a Business Gateway adviser including  intellectual property advice, business strategy and sales and marketing.

A range of free webinars are also available, including an introduction to selling online aimed at retailers who are not currently online at all or who are just starting out; how to market your business online and how to sell safely online.

In addition, funding received through Spaces for People is being used to create temporary and permanent infrastructure, which will make Town Centres safer and more suitable to support physical distancing.

Officers will visit local business in the area to provide additional information about the campaign ahead of its launch on October 5.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development at the Council, said: “We are extremely lucky to have such a varied selection of local businesses across West Dunbartonshire and many of these businesses played a vital role in ensuring we had access to the items we needed at the height of lockdown. Unfortunately, others were forced to shut down for months with little to no notice and had to adapt to the changing guidance quickly.

“Each and every local business in our town centres is important and I urge you all to think – even now you are able to travel further – whether you can still get the items you need locally.

“By shopping local, you are helping a local person and their families get back on their feet, and supporting the local economy by ensuring our town centres remain vibrant places which attract visitors.”

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “I’m pleased to see that we are taking action alongside our partners to ensure our local businesses get the support and assistance they need to get through the pandemic.

“I would encourage all local businesses to get in touch and get involved with the Love Local campaign, and make use of the wide range of support that is available.

“A local purchase means the world to a small business in our area so I’d ask all residents to get behind the businesses in their area by shopping local first. While we may be getting used to our ‘new normal’, there is still a long road ahead and we all need to play our part to help our town centres thrive again.”

During lockdown, the Council’s Business Support team allocated a total of £14.495m in financial support to 1,302 local companies to support them with financial hardship brought about by Covid-19.

To find out more about the Love Local, please call 0141 280 0335 or email hello@loveslocal.co.uk