Scotland Loves Local Week: Enterprise highlights difference that people can make by getting behind businesses in their community as poll highlights huge support
A trailblazing social enterprise is championing the charge for people across Dumfries and Galloway to choose local and build a stronger future for the region.
The Guild Dumfries has highlighted the profound difference that the simple decision makes as a new poll highlights huge support for local enterprises and the people behind them.
Figures released as part of the first Scotland Loves Local Week, which continues until Sunday (September 3), show that nine out of 10 people locally (87%) agree it is vital that people in their community support businesses on the local high street.
Statistics also show that 95% of those surveyed in the South Scotland Scottish Parliament region recognise that choosing local supports local jobs.
And 86% of people locally agreed that choosing local reduces unnecessary journeys and helps to tackle the climate crisis.
The findings have been welcomed by The Guild Dumfries, which operates gift shop and refillery Flourish on Dumfries High Street.
The store showcases creativity and entrepreneurship from across the region – with local support critical to the venture’s success.
Leah Halliday, a co-founder and director of The Guild Dumfries, said: “It’s really heartening to see that people realise how vital – and valued – their support is and the difference it makes to people and enterprises in our region. We’re one of many organisations across Dumfries and Galloway working hard to see that support grow.”
Scotland Loves Local Week, which has seen events take place across the country, is shining a spotlight on the impact people can make on building stronger, more sustainable futures for their community by supporting the businesses in their area, potentially injecting millions of pounds into regional economies.
The Guild and Flourish are recognised nationally as an example of the power of choosing local.
Last year, it won the Enterprising Communities prize at the Scotland Loves Local Awards for its work, including opening Flourish in a formerly disused building, renting space from Midsteeple Quarter as part of its ambitious town centre regeneration project.
Leah added: “It’s so important that people choose local. When they shop locally they’re supporting the local economy, keeping money in our region.
“When people support The Guild Dumfries and Flourish, they are supporting many local makers and producers who live and work here as well.
“We’re also employing people so you’re helping to create and protect jobs, as well as creating lots of volunteering opportunities, with lots going on not just in the shop, but with our community projects too.”
Flourish sells products from more than 50 creative businesses, mainly from across Dumfries and Galloway. It also recently launched a refillery department, including a range of zero waste and sustainable products.
Victoria Lane, of Lockerbie, is one of those who sells items through the collective, with the store providing a High Street presence that her Solway Blankets enterprise would otherwise be unable to have.
She said: “It’s brilliant that independent creatives like me have the chance to bring their products to the High Street through Flourish, giving our customers a chance to see and touch what they’re buying.
“Local support is so important. It’s nice when local people recognise business in the area and support them. It keeps their money locally, benefiting the wider economy and community.”
Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), with support from the Scottish Government.
Kimberley Guthrie, STP’s interim chief officer, said: “Our high streets are not just about collections of buildings. They’re about people – people who work incredibly hard.
“The challenges they have faced in recent years have been relentless in many ways. But they continue to be there for us – adapting and evolving. We, though, must continue to be there for them if we are to ensure they can thrive, protecting jobs and giving our communities a platform from which they can flourish, allowing our local economies to grow.
“Scotland Loves Local Week is a terrific opportunity to showcase the tremendous dedication we see in running local businesses and creating communities fit for the future while reminding everyone of the incredible difference that choosing local makes.”
For more information, go to www.lovelocal.scot.