GUEST COLUMN: How YOU can help boost our local economy...

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Sarah Nelson, manger of Mansfield BID, on how the way you shop this month - and in future - can have a big impact on your local community...

Did you know, that for every £1 you spend with a local, independent business, between 50p and 70p circulates back into the local economy?

Compare that to shopping out-of-town or online, where for every £1 you spend, only 5p trickles back into the local economy.

There’s no doubt that shopping locally supports local traders, their suppliers and the people they depend on to run their businesses.

Buying locally boosts your local economy, rebuilds confidence in the community and enables local businesses to prosper and grow.

This month sees the UK’s fourth Independent Retailer Month, which aims to raise awareness of thousands of local businesses and increase footfall into town and village centres, helping retailers to stay open for business, and to reduce the number of empty shops on the high street.

The BID is heavily supporting this campaign and is running a number of initiatives on behalf of businesses who pay the levy.

There will be a full listing of all independent retailers on the Mansfield Town Website, we’ll be using social media, posters have been distributed, and there is a competition for members of the public.

Every shopper who provides us with receipts from two different independent shops will be entered into a fantastic prize draw. This is a really important time for shops and business like this, and we’re calling on shoppers to come along and see what the town centre really has to offer.

There are independent shops galore in Mansfield.

There’s the Mansfield Computer Store in Albert Street, Just Sew and Music Scene, also in Albert Street.

X-Direct Furniture in Church Street, with near-neighbours J Duffy Opticians, Inspirations and White Lion Yard.

Cheeky Monkeys, Cascade Carpets, Sally Twinkle and Charmingly Yours in the Handley Arcade, and Keith Hall Hairdressers, Marl Leeson, The Hair Clinic and Vanity Box all within the town centre.

Whether it’s eating out, buying presents, enjoying a cocktail, buying a wedding dress or a prom outfit, or treating yourself to a gift in Beau-ti-ful or neighbouring Whos Toys, there is something for everyone.

There are some people who say there isn’t much in Mansfield. But the A4 sheets of paper in our database show different.

For many people, there is no need to go elsewhere when shopping.

We have the butchers and the bakers (although I don’t think we have the candlestick makers - unless you ask at the craft shop Hart Gallery maybe!).

The Town Team, made up of a number of different partners, is working hard to support the high street shops, independent or otherwise.

Following a Town Team meeting, a working group decided that the town would apply for the newly launched Great British High Street Award 2014.

We’ve got a thriving high street in Mansfield. Some really great independents. Let’s use Independent Retailer Month to support them.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? To email your views on local shops and the economyCLICK HERE