Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, today visited a number of the small, independent shops and cafes in Brockhurst Road, encouraging them to enter the UK Best Small Shops Competition.
Although shops have recently reopened their doors following the COVID-19 outbreak, many have been struggling throughout the pandemic and have made enormous efforts to ensure that they are COVID-19 Secure as they open their doors again to customers.
Caroline has recognised the significant struggles that the High Streets have seen, and welcomed the business rates relief for retail, Small Business Grant Fund and Furlough Scheme which many local shops have benefitted from over the past months.
The High Street itself saw over £75 000 investment through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to help businesses become COVID-19 Secure. This is on top of the share of £95 million – the biggest ever single investment in the UK’s built heritage – that it received following the announcement in September of last year.
To coincide with Small Business Saturday last Autumn, Caroline ran her own Best Independent Shop Competition where constituents could nominate local shops themselves. Over 100 businesses were put forward, with a Slice of Vinyl from the High Street coming in first place.
Now Caroline is asking shops themselves to put their own business forward for the UK-wide competition. The judges will be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.
“Our local independent shops and cafes are at the heart of our community and have had a really tough time weathering the impact of the pandemic.
“This competition recognises the importance of these small businesses and the entrepreneurs who run them.
“It has been great to see so many of our shops open today and welcoming customers, I have been encouraging them all to sign up and hope to see their efforts rightly recognised.”