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‘Buy local’ campaign launched

By Paul Ainsworth

THE Belfast Media Group has launched a new Buy Local Campaign to help save small businesses from sinking under the weight of recession.

As more shops across the city pull their shutters down, the South Belfast News and its sister papers, the Andersonstown News and North Belfast News, are backing local outlets in areas including the Lisburn Road, in a bid to stimulate the local economy and help job creation.

Describing how buying local literally boosts local economies, Ciaran Boylan of regeneration consultancy LOCUS explained: “For every pound spent in a local shop, opposed to a larger chain store, two pounds are generated. It offers a greater multiplier effect. It’s important in terms of not only keeping businesses open, but creating new jobs through them also.

South Belfast Councillor Christopher Stalford said: “I support this campaign, as areas like the Lisburn Road are a vital shopping precinct, and we should be trying to protect and nurture local businesses.

“If we don’t want to wake up one day and find we live in a world dominated by large supermarkets, then we must act now and buy local.”

Fellow South Belfast councillor and Managing Director of the Belfast Media Group, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said of the new campaign: “For many businesses it’s backs to the wall time, but the tenacity and determination which saw us through the toughest times in this city will also see our small businesses through the recession – if we all step up to the plate.

“Our Buy Local Campaign encourages all our readers to think of community benefit before they spend their hard-earned cash. As the Irish proverb has it, “ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine” – we all live in each other’s shelter – and in supporting local businesses, creating jobs and nurturing community, the person who buys local is helping their own.

“In coming weeks we will be highlighting the drive to get more rate relief for our small businesses, improve the infrastructure of our roadfront retail hubs and saluting those local businesses who have served the people of Belfast, sometimes over generations.

“It’s our hope that this campaign will also give food for thought to local councils and government departments who can make a massive contribution to the economy by procuring locally.

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