Stuck indoors while watching big name retailers collapse like a row of dominoes, many proud locals have felt powerless to help their high streets survive the pandemic.
But now that restrictions on retail have eased, people have been able to get back out and support their town and city centres.
And following a turbulent time during lockdown, the heart of Aberdeen needs help more than ever.
North-east children’s charity Charlie House, which benefits from stallholder fees there, is now offering volunteers the chance to help a new indoor market at the Bon Accord Centre thrive.
Organisers are asking people to do their bit at Curated Aberdeen – which is helping drive more people into the city.
‘A number of shops aren’t reopening’
One volunteer who took part in the recent opening weekend said she wanted to help both Charlie House and the shopping mall.
Deborah Chang and her daughter Summer volunteered at Curated Aberdeen on Sunday.
Deborah said: “We volunteered because we wanted to support Charlie House but also because we wanted to support Bon Accord.
“A number of shops aren’t reopening in Aberdeen so it’s great to see a new retail offering, especially one that is focused on local businesses.”
She added: “Volunteering at Curated Aberdeen also gave us a chance to get out and see people.
“After more than a year of lockdown and restrictions, it was great to be part of something and meet new people.
“It was also a good opportunity for Summer to have her first taste of volunteering.”
Join orange-shirted army
Charlie House’s small army of orange-shirted volunteers are earning every penny the charity makes from the market.
Joan Cowie, Charlie House’s volunteer co-ordinator, is urging more people to give it a go.
She said: “There are 24 volunteer slots to fill every weekend, the roles are varied and range from meeting and greeting visitors to highlighting our Covid safe measures.
“Volunteers also run the Charlie House stall and are on hand to answer general queries too.
“We are always on the lookout for new volunteers, whether they want to sign up to do a regular slot or opt in on an ad hoc basis.”
Cash goes to Big Build Appeal
All funds raised from Curated Aberdeen stall holder fees will go directly to Charlie House’s Big Build Appeal to create a specialist support centre in Aberdeen.
The Charlie House Specialist Support Centre will support babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions.
It will be built in the grounds of Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.
Anyone interested in volunteering should email email@example.com or call Joan on 01224 313333.