Do you live and work in Norfolk? Would you like to see a more vibrant local economy, creating more jobs and greater opportunities to develop your own business? Then you are just the sort of person who should support the #BuyLocalNorfolk campaign whenever you shop, whether for home or business.
The #BuyLocalNorfolk campaign is about supporting your local community – your friends and neighbours. It’s about creating a sustainable economy, which reduces the use of fossil fuels and the pollution associated with long haul transport. And it’s about creating a vibrant jobs market, so people both young and old can find jobs close to their friends and family.
The campaign is run by Buy Local Norfolk, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Buy Local Norfolk supports members by providing networking and marketing opportunities for local businesses, so strengthening connections within our community. It also encourages people to use the power of the pound in their pocket to support local, independent businesses on the high street.
You can make a real difference
Too many towns across the UK have become clone towns – all stocked with the same national chains, selling the same mass-produced goods. Worse still, many towns have become ghost-towns, with stores abandoning high streets in favour of large out-of-town shopping malls. Norfolk is different – and Norfolk is lucky.
Many of Norfolk’s towns still have thriving centres – with independent shops, specialising in locally produced goods and providing traditional personal service. This is great for local people because it gives them more choice. It is also important for the £2.8bn tourism industry, which employs some 750,000 people, because the diversity and individuality of Norfolk’s towns and villages attracts visitors.
You can help preserve our region’s distinctive identity by supporting these businesses. In doing so, you will help keep your community special, your local economy buoyant and more people in work. All you have to do is spend more of your money with local businesses. This doesn’t take a major change in your shopping habits – just small adjustments here and there can make all the difference.
You could start by using a local baker, butcher, farm shop or market – or looking for a local supplier of birthday cards, accountancy services, garden supplies, gifts, furniture and fittings. Why buy something bland from a national chain when you could buy something special from a local craftsperson? Obviously price comes into it but many local businesses go out of their way to compete on both price and service – all you have to do is ask them.
Businesses support businesses
Buy Local Norfolk holds regular, free-to-attend networking events around the county, which give your business an excellent opportunity to create valuable connections with new buyers and suppliers. This can make your business more resilient by shortening your supply chain and increasing your speed to market. It is also a chance to forge lasting friendships with business leaders who can support you with their experience, local knowledge and contacts.
Joining Buy Local Norfolk is simple – all you have to do is show you are a ‘truly local’ Norfolk business. This unique accreditation process is not onerous – it simply checks that your business is substantially owned and run by people who live in Norfolk and who already use five local suppliers. Membership costs just £5 a month and brings a whole load of benefits – including a full-colour listing in the directory, 5,000 copies of which are printed and distributed to businesses twice a year.
Buy Local Norfolk has also built strong links with some of Norfolk’s council procurement teams – including providing an electronic directory of members to Norwich City Council. Your membership also gets you a free listing (including your logo, company description, contact details, location map, and link to your website) on the Buy Local Norfolk website – which gets some 14,000 views a month from people looking for local businesses who can meet their specific needs.
Buy Local Norfolk believes that, as a community, we are stronger together. The organisation already has the support of over 120 businesses, local Councillors, MPs and MEPs. And the Buy Local Norfolk brand is increasingly recognised by Norfolk residents, including over 7,000 twitter followers. Now it’s your turn to get involved and do your bit to build a brighter future for your business, while supporting your community and making Norfolk an even better place to live, work and play. Join here today.
If you have any questions or comments, or ideas for future posts, please feel free to post them under this blog or tweet them to me. I will do my best to reply. In future blogs I will talk more about the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 (see my earlier post about being an #NFDF2014 Champion) – and other food and drink events around the county – I hope you enjoy them.
Thank you for reading.