SHOPPERS are being urged to buy at least one item from a local business as the retail trade marks Independents’ Day this Friday, July 4.

The initiative, now in its fourth year, aims to celebrate the value of independent businesses to the economy.

Organised by the National Skills Academy for Retail and People 1st, the event also offers a package of support to help small businesses develop their skills.

In Poole, the initiative has won the backing of council leader Cllr Elaine Atkinson.

She said: “The Borough of Poole recognises the importance of the continued access to our high street locally and see this activity as a positive step to promoting and celebrating the large range of excellent independents available in Poole.”

Retail Resource Dorset, the retail division of customer service specialist Spot-checkers, is delivering posters to all Poole independents, which they can put in their windows to advertise a special offer for Independents’ Day.

Organiser Mandy Payne of Retail Resource Dorset said: “Posters and a dedicated Poole Indepen-dents’ Day Facebook page will give the public lots of offers and encourage them to use their local independent stores.”

Posters can be obtained by emailing

Hannah Mayo, Poole town centre and marketing manager, said: “Poole High Street is extremely lucky to have so many independent retailers showing their passion and skills to the highest degree. The variety and diversity they add to the retail offer in Poole contributes to the thoroughly unique feel of the town.”

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said: “Independents’ Day is a great opportunity for people to show their support for small businesses – the lifeblood of our economy. It is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to ensure that small businesses have the right environment to grow.”

The support available this year includes a chance to develop online skills through the new Digital High Street Skills programme and the World Host customer service training scheme.

High profile supporters of the Independents’ Day campaign include Theo Paphitis, Dragons’ Den star and chairman of Ryman Stationery and Robert Dyas.

He said: “Small and independent businesses are the lifeblood of the UK’s high streets and tourist hotspots, so making sure that they have the right skills for success is vital to the economy.”