OPINION: Try to shop local this Christmas - David Worden

South Molton Pannier Market

South Molton Pannier Market - Credit: SMTC

Shopping, shopping, shopping – I often think that shopping is a bit like how people view marmite – you either love it or hate it. 

Much shopping is now done online and that is convenient for many busy people but as we lead up to the Christmas festive season, I hope we will do our best to support our local shops and where possible purchase local goods. 

Perhaps I am biased as several of my relatives were shop keepers in Devon and Cornwall but I genuinely believe that it is good to support our local traders. I must admit I enjoy wandering through South Molton Pannier Market on a Thursday or Saturday morning where I purchase my vegetables, fruit and eggs and other items. 

I think it is important to also support our local shops and High Streets. Maybe I am old fashioned but I love to see what I am buying before I purchase it so I often resist buying things on Amazon. To me the decorations and lights leading up to Christmas help to create a cheerful atmosphere in our towns and brighten the dark days. 

As you will realize, many of our shop keepers have lost a lot of trade and struggled during the pandemic and it would be sad to see some go out of business. They rely on a good trade for Christmas before the more difficult trading months of January and February. 

Our High Streets are a vital part of our towns and lots more empty shops would be such a shame. The same applies to our local village shops that have been a lifeline during the Covid outbreak to so many people who haven’t been comfortable going into busy shopping centres. So often they are the heart of their communities. Please support them if you are able. 

Many of you will have seen that North Devon Council has been encouraging residents during the pandemic to shop locally under the slogan Live, Love, Local. Shopping locally and buying local produce also helps to reduce our carbon footprint. This is vital for our future generations if we are going to have an impact on reducing global warming. We cannot just leave it to governments’ but we all need to do our part even if we think it is relatively a small action. 

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I am pleased that with COP26 taking place in Glasgow, NDC wrote to many of North Devon’s schools explaining a carbon saving programme called Shop4good. Four Devon councils are working with low carbon promoters Carbon Savvy, and partner charities and community groups, from 30th October to 13th November to give ideas which they might consider implementing. 

The programme aims to engage people to shop in a way that both saves CO2 and raises wellbeing as we lead up to Christmas. Suggestions include taking part in the clothes shop for secondary schools, running a toy swap event for primary schools, asking local carbon saving expert Mukti Mitchell to give a talk on how to Shop4good and giving parents the opportunity to take part in a carbon savvy quiz. 

Before finishing may I take this opportunity to thank shop keepers and volunteers who have been selling poppies. 

Last year the Royal British Legion could not send volunteers out onto the streets to sell poppies and raise money due to the Covid-19 pandemic so it is a relief that it has happened this year. Since being started in the 1920s, the appeal has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for serving and ex-serving members of the British Armed Forces and their families. 

The Royal British Legion campaign theme this year is ‘Every Poppy Counts’ and services will once again take place across the country in addition to the annual National Service of Remembrance, at The Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday. Let us remember with thanks all those that have served and made sacrifices for our nation.

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