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Support your local businesses on Small Business Saturday

Nigel Wilkinson - Chair of CLEPs Visitor Economy Sector Panel and Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises Nigel Wilkinson - Chair of CLEPs Visitor Economy Sector Panel and Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises

Now that the national lockdown has been lifted and Cumbria has entered Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is encouraging everybody to think and spend local.

The introduction of Tiers means that businesses in Cumbria are now even more reliant on local custom, given that many surrounding areas are subject to Tier 3 travel restrictions.

Small Business Saturday takes place this week on 5 December and provides the perfect opportunity to get back out and support small businesses in your local area. The Small Business Saturday website provides further information, including a small business finder which, by using their postcode, helps people to find local retailers operating online or via click-and-collect. This means that those that cannot get out to shop can still support their local businesses.

CLEP is encouraging all small businesses to sign up with the Small Business Saturday business finder, which is free, so that customers can buy from them at any time. The link is

Nigel Wilkinson, Chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel and Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said: “Many of our local businesses have been incredibly resilient and have continued to adapt, innovate and diversify to work safely throughout the second lockdown. We have now moved into Tier 2 which has seen the welcome re-opening of many our shops, visitor attractions and hospitality businesses.

“Our businesses are committed to continuing to do all that they can to put safety and public protection first, and have already made, often at considerable expense, adjustments to their premises and working practices to maintain a COVID-secure environment for their customers and employees.

“One of the best ways that we can continue to help Cumbria’s economy to recover from the impact of COVID-19 is to ‘think local’ on everything from Christmas shopping, visiting our fantastic cultural organisations and attractions and booking a well-deserved break in the county. ‘Think local’ is a key part of Cumbria’s restart-reboot-rethink economic recovery strategy as it’s a way in which we can all back Cumbria’s businesses, save jobs and support our communities.

“Cumbria is a beautiful county to explore during the winter months, with fantastic pubs, restaurants, spas and sports facilities, cultural assets, attractions and many other great places to visit. We need to sustain these fantastic amenities and supporting our businesses will help to do this.”

One business which has made considerable efforts to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help other local businesses in the process, is Grasmere Gingerbread®.

Andrew Hunter, Co-Director of Grasmere Gingerbread®, said: “Clearly, moving from national lockdown to Tier 2 enabled us to re-open our historic shop before Christmas, which not only helps to generate sales and keep our staff employed but helps to release palpable pent-up customer demand for Grasmere Gingerbread® and our other products. However, the health of staff and customers is paramount. Our shop operates a traffic light system for entry and exit; asks customers to use our own branded hand sanitiser before entering the premises and our serving assistants are protected by screens and personal protective equipment.

“Significantly, during the two lockdowns, we encouraged our fantastic Cumbrian artisan suppliers – many of whom previously relied upon traditional country fairs and markets for sales and/or did not have online shops – to develop new products which we have pro-actively marketed and sold through our website. Many businesses, including the Penrith Toffee Shop, have told us how these sales proved invaluable when there was zero footfall during lockdown or reduced footfall at other times.

“We believe that Cumbria, which was severely tested during Foot & Mouth and Storm Desmond, is at its best when its incredible small businesses and communities work co-operatively. Our relative isolation is certainly splendid but also challenging, especially during a global pandemic. I hope that by working so collaboratively with our suppliers, Grasmere Gingerbread® exemplifies and gives weight to the excellent ‘Think Local’ #ThinkCumbria campaign. If no man is an island, no business is either.”

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