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Shopping locally has never been more important to the communities and businesses of Argyll and Bute.
Using shops in your town or village has consequential benefits economically, socially and environmentally. The whole community and surrounding districts become stronger and more sustainable as a result.
Retailers were under pressure before the pandemic, and there have been fears that the impact of Covid-19 could mean that new shopping habits developed during lockdown further reduce footfall and income to local shops.
But help could be at hand for our high streets and the retailers who supported us during lockdown and beyond.
Argyll and Bute Council is taking advantage of Scottish Government funding, delivered through Scotland’s Town’s Partnership, to support Ardrishaig, Bowmore, Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Lochgilphead, Rothesay, Tarbert and Tobermory to promote a ‘shop local’ message with a unique poster.
Community empowerment consultancy Community Links is in the process of coming up with artwork and messaging ideas to represent the distinct characteristics and offering of each town.
Community Links will produce a brief for a designer who will then produce a draft poster for each town, plus an overall banner for Argyll and Bute, paid for by Scotland’s Towns Partnership.
Find out more about the poster initiative at a short-life website www.shoplocal-argyll-bute.co.uk.
Work by Community Links has revealed that Lochgilphead folk are proud of their shops, and businesses point out the work that they have already done to make shopping locally more accessible and attractive.
There is a strong sense of community around shopping in Lochgilphead and the idea that shopping locally – and bumping into neighbours and friends – is part of community life.
The idea is to build on a poster already doing the rounds in town, with the slogan ‘Think, Shop, Buy Local’, underlining the sense of place by adding ‘in Lochgilphead’ and incorporating a ‘warm, toasty, nearly festive’ feel.
Some in Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead suggested that there should be a single poster for Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead but, that aside, people in Ardrishaig love where they live, but are concerned about an ongoing erosion of the number and variety of shops in the village.
Ardrishaig shops are regarded as convenient and friendly, according to Community Links, and people valued the shops, their staff and their role in the community. Traffic management, covered areas and street furniture, it was felt, could encourage more people to spend more time shopping.
A draft slogan ‘Ardrishaig Loves Local’ is proposed, with a clear and simple poster showing a large central image, surrounded by smaller icons of everyday local produce and trade.
Views on shopping in Tarbert are also being sought ahead of poster design for the village, and a short survey can be found on the shoplocal-argyll-bute.co.uk website.