By Jessica Bayley
A social media campaign, using the #Buyleeds tag, has been started in an aim to encourage people in the Leeds area to shop local on the run up to Christmas.
An online directory of around 700 local businesses has been created to work in conjunction with the hashtag.
The directory, which categorises and details independent retail, hospitality, and arts businesses across Leeds, was created ahead of England’s second national lockdown.
Dr Gemma Bridge who is one of many helping to get the campaign up and running said that the aim of the directory is to make it easier for those wanting to shop locally to do so.
Dr Bridge added: “Having to search and take the time to actively find these businesses may have been off putting but now (…) this new directory does help make it a little more convenient.”
Research by Visa this month revealed that, for every £10 we spend with a local business, more than a third (£3.80) stays within the area, highlighting the value of shopping locally.
Jack Simpson from Hyde Park Book Club, a bar for food, music, comedy and other live events, said: “As a city we need to come together to make sure that everybody has a bit of support over the next few months.”
Like many other businesses across Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club has welcomed this new directory and campaign and have echoed the organisers’ statement that the issue for many people may have been the difficulty to find where to shop local.
“Often the thing that we need to do is just make it as easy as possible for people to support things that they already want to support, people always want to support local, the directory just makes it easier to do that.”
Emma Bond from Velvet Lemonade, which sells handmade earrings, has also received this campaign with open arms.
Her business is run online but she also stocks some of her pieces in Woodlawn Coffee Shop and Jim’s Bottle Shop in Horsforth.
She said that the campaign had brought a real sense of community.
“It makes you feel a bit less alone,” she said.
The business owner also pointed out the benefit of shopping for your loved ones’ Christmas presents at small businesses.
“When you start shopping locally, you start shopping smaller, you’re going to find such beautiful, unique things.”
To stay up to date with the campaign, you can follow the #BuyLeeds on social media.