RESIDENTS across the conurbation are being encouraged to ‘Search and Shop Local’ as part of an ongoing campaign to support businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

With non-essential retail shops closed due to national restrictions, BCP Council’s ‘Rediscover Safely’ initiative is urging people to support their local high street and boost the local economy by appealing to all those who may be tempted to shop online over the next month to search and shop local instead.

Cllr Philip Broadhead, BCP Council deputy leader, said; “Our high streets play a key role in creating a sense of community and place. Behind every shop frontage is at least one livelihood that depends on local people choosing to shop with them. This is why we are reminding everyone to rediscover the magic of the local high street when shopping online.

“Across our conurbation we have a wealth of amazing independent retailers who have adapted quickly to provide online sales, click and collect services, local deliveries and more. There are some real hidden gems all brimming with personality, passion and pride with some offering locally sourced items which aren’t available through major online retailers so you can choose things that are really unique to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

“These shops will only survive if we continue to spend locally, and it is absolutely vital that we all show our support now by either choosing to search and shop local during lockdown, or rediscover safely those premises that are open and those who will reopen their doors when it is safe to do so.”

Supported by Bournemouth BID, Coastal BID, Christchurch Chamber and Poole BID the ‘Rediscover Safely’ initiative is an ongoing campaign to encourage residents to shop locally.

Over the next month there will be a specific focus on reminding people to search and shop local whilst non-essential retail shops remain closed. Residents will see adverts online reminding them what is on offer in their area.

Chairman of Bournemouth Town Centre BID, Martin Davies, said: “This is another excellent initiative which shows how absolutely vital collaboration is in these hugely challenging times. We are delighted to be working with BCP Council and other partners to promote rediscover local online and support our local businesses. They are the lifeblood of our town centre and need all of us more than ever in this second lockdown.

“And of course we look forward to welcoming residents and visitors back to the town’s fantastic retail and hospitality businesses when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.”

Andrew Barfield, President of Christchurch Chamber of Trade & Commerce, said “There’s a wealth of retail offers along Christchurch high street all needing the support of local residents. We must support local businesses and the high street where and when we can.”

Paul Clarke, Chair of Coastal BID, said; “Our coastal villages across the BCP region sit at the heart of those local communities and we all need to do our bit to keep that heart beating by choosing to search and shop local in order to preserve and protect our local high streets during lockdown.”

Steve Reilly of Poole BID, said; “The high street and Quay needs the support, there’s a great offer on our doorstep and we need people to search and shop local wherever possible.”

Rediscover Safely is funded by a Reopening High Streets Safely grant from the European Regional Development Fund, which was allocated to BCP Council by the government.