Determined to push forward and thrive in the face of adversity, North Devon’s high streets are calling upon your sense of community spirit to help support local businesses.

Picture: North Devon CouncilPicture: North Devon Council

North Devon Council’s ‘Live Love Local’ campaign aims to celebrate and support independent businesses in your towns and villages to reopen and operate safely and remind residents to shop, eat and enjoy their local high streets.

“As high streets are changing, so are their roles,” says a member of the Economic Development Team at North Devon Council. “People in North Devon are encouraged to embed themselves in the community and give back to it, rather than their local towns just being places to shop and eat.”

Why is supporting local businesses important?

Picture: North Devon CouncilPicture: North Devon Council

Following lockdown, many of North Devon’s businesses have reopened safely and successfully – but they still need your help to keep them on their feet.

Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, South Molton, Braunton and Lynton & Lynmouth; the main towns and villages in North Devon are full of unique independent businesses, offering everything from quaint coffee shops, pubs and cinemas, to grocers and heavenly chocolate shops.

However, without the continued support of local shoppers and diners, these bustling high streets may struggle to continue trading. If you value the products and experience the independent businesses in your high street provide, you may wish to choose local where possible.

Keep yourself and the environment healthy

Support local farmers and small businesses by shopping at North Devon’s butchers, bakers, greengrocers or markets. This helps keep food miles low and packaging to a minimum. You also do your bit for the environment by swapping driving to the supermarket with walking or hopping on your bike to get to a local store – this can reduce traffic and air pollution.

“Something else that makes you feel good is fresh, nutrient-rich food. A lot of North Devon’s producers pride themselves on the quality of their products, which is good for you and improves crops and air quality,” says an NDC (North Devon Council) representative.

Source: North Devon CouncilSource: North Devon Council

How do local businesses help the economy?

If you buy from local businesses, your money stays in North Devon and contributes towards the local economy.

“It’s important to remember that local businesses tend to use local suppliers,” a member of the NDC says.

“If you eat in a local restaurant, or buy from a local shop, you would be supporting lots of North Devon’s businesses, not just one, as well as helping to provide jobs for local people.”

The ‘local shopping experience’

Although it may be more convenient to shop online, physically browsing independent stores is often a more wholesome experience. It gets you out and about, perhaps with a member of your household or support bubble, you may be rewarded with deals and discounts for being a regular customer, and you might even benefit from local independent retailers’ competitive prices.

NDC explains: “North Devon is blessed with a variety of quirky shops, offering special, one-of-a-kind products that you may not be able to find online. The pannier markets in Barnstaple and South Molton particularly are packed full of treasures.”

Is it safe to shop in my local high street?

Multiple safety measures have been put in place by North Devon Council and the businesses themselves to make sure people visiting the high streets can ‘Enjoy Safely’.

This includes a ‘Keep Left’ system on Barnstaple’s high street, signage in all towns - providing reminders of how best to stay safe and that visitors should wear face masks inside stores (unless exempt) - and plenty of hand sanitisation stations.

“We want to give everyone the confidence to visit our town centres, and most importantly, ensure you feel safe while shopping,” says an NDC representative.

“Some stores are now offering a ‘click and collect’ service, meaning you can choose what you want online, and then collect it in-store – this reduces time spent browsing, and helps manage social distancing.”

For more information on the ‘Live Love Local’ campaign visit https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/live-love-local Keep up to date with what’s happening in your community by following ‘Live Love Local’ on Facebook and Instagram.

North Devon Council’s Live Love Local campaign is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Her Majesty’s Government.