A nationwide campaign urging people to buy local and help regional economies has been backed by Aberdeenshire Council, alongside moving support from an organic dairy farm.
The Scotland Loves Local initiative has been launched by the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, with support of the Scottish Government.
The scheme encourages residents to stop shopping online or visiting corporate chains and instead use their hard-earned cash to help out shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and producers in their own communities.
It is hoped that by getting more people to spend their money locally, the project can help Scotland as a country recover from the economic impact of the pandemic “from its grassroots”.
Angus Willis, the director of the family-run Forest Farm Organic Dairy in Aberdeenshire, said the support of Aberdeenshire residents has been invaluable to the business in getting through the effects brought about by Covid-19.
He said: “Encouraging people to shop locally is just hugely important for businesses like us.
“We benefitted so much from all the local support we’ve had from people buying our gelato, yoghurt, milk and ice-cream.
“I think Covid-19 has really made people re-think where their food comes from and the health and economic benefits of locally-sourced food.
“We’re really passionate about Aberdeenshire’s community of producers and I hope this campaign will enable customers to really see how much of a difference they can make.”
Jim Gifford, the leader of Aberdeenshire Council, toured the farm yesterday and got up close and personal with its cows.
He said: “Our region’s economy, just like the rest of Scotland and the UK, has suffered terribly as a result of the pandemic and I very much welcome the launch of our Scotland Loves Local – Aberdeenshire campaign.
“Aberdeenshire Council has provided significant support to businesses during the last six months through a number of schemes and initiatives, some of which were specifically devised by the economic development team and are unique to the local authority.
“We continue to stand 100% behind getting businesses back on their feet in the weeks and months to come.”
The campaign also seeks to show nervous shoppers the lengths that businesses up and down Scotland have gone to in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, such as screens, distance markers, signage and hand sanitiser provision within shops.
Phil Prentice, chief officer of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “The impact of the coronavirus has hit our town centres and local businesses hard.
“Now is the time for us all to support them to get back on their feet in a way which recognises that we all still need to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.
“By thinking local first, we can help Scotland’s economic recovery from its grassroots, supporting our town centres within all of the public safety guidelines.
“One of the great positives of the terrible times in which we have found ourselves has been the greater appreciation of localism.
“We must now harness that to keep our communities vibrant and lay firm foundations as we work to ensure our town centres are fit for the future.”