Scheme to support shops

Town councillors have backed a scheme to get £5million spent annually in Belper’s independent stores.

And they are to invite the Totally Locally Belper team to approach them for public money to get the venture off the ground.

At the council’s monthly meeting, Transition Belper volunteer Ian Jackson said they hoped to produce 9,000 copies of a map giving a list of all independent traders in the town.

A meeting has already attracted 70 people and Mr Jackson said:”We don’t want any barriers.

“It is for small traders and has no membership and is not a trade organisation.

“We want everyone to get involved in it. All the work will be done on a voluntary basis,” said Mr Jackson who told councillors it had been “very successful” in other towns.

The thrust of the project is to encourage people to spend £5 weekly with independent businesses instead of with national firms or over the internet.

Cllr Joe Booth said:”It sounds brilliant and something positive. I would like to see the council supporting it.”

Cllr Alan Broughton told the meeting:”It’s absolutely phenomenal to think of that sort of investment money going into the economy.

“It could encourage other small businesses to come forward and have a gamble at opening a shop in Belper.”

Cllr Alan Cox said it would bring £5.2million into cash registers in Belper - but that would not remain in the local economy.

“If a person buys cigarettes in a local shop, the cost of those cigarettes goes outside our economy,” he added.

The Totally Locally team said it would cost £900 to print the map with another £250 annually on running a website. A banner, manifesto and shop window displays would add £500 to the costs.

Totally Locally has helped to change shopping habits in across the UK with more residents now enjoying their local shops, and experiencing the great product range, knowledge and personal customer service on offer from independent businesses.

Among the other towns to have signed-up to the scheme is Matlock.

Initiatives such as the Totally Locally markets have gone from strength to strength.

Transition Belper is planning Derbyshire’s first ever Youth Market later this year, a pioneering event created to encourage young people to experience the world of business.

The event will feature stalls and social areas where young people can perform and entertain, provide refreshments and showcase their catering skills.