Lockdown is lifting - shop local!

Now lockdown is lifting, it’s time to get out there and shop local!

Nicholas Rogers

Conservative London Assembly candidate for Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow

The other day, I wandered over to Teddington High Street and indulged a little: chocolate and coffee (and a cheeky cigar) from La Casa del Habano, wine from The Good Wine Shop and some rather lovely pasta sauce from Girasol, among other goodies.

It was the first time in months that I’d visited any shops apart from my local supermarket and convenience store (needless to say, the staff in both of these have been absolutely fantastic throughout).

What a wonderful experience! Staff were clearly excited to be open again and customers were delighted to see them back in action.

I spoke at length to some of the traders. It has – quite obviously – been a traumatic few months for them, with businesses and livelihoods at risk. The government’s furlough scheme has protected jobs, but not every local business has been able to move online so many have seen income essentially dry up during the pandemic.

Local traders have used lockdown to think carefully about reopening. Social distancing measures are in place and are being observed by all. Some of these measures actually make for a rather luxurious experience; in The Good Wine Shop, for example, you take a seat, describe what you would like and delicious wines are paraded in front of you for your delectation!

All this is to say that, now we can, we absolutely must support our local traders. They ensure our high streets remain interesting and vibrant places, they create local jobs and they add to a healthy local economy.

There is no better way to use your hard-earned cash than by supporting enterprising local people. Let’s all pledge to shop local!