SHOPPING locally is vital to helping safeguard the future of Wiltshire’s high streets.

Since lockdown, the Gazette has been running a campaign encouraging people to support their local traders and businesses.

Many firms have been busy adapting since the outbreak of coronavirus and are welcoming customers back to business-almost-as usual.

But ‘Shop Local’ campaigns have never been more important in encouraging customers to come back to their safe local shops.

They help ensure that these businesses, some of which are family-run or have been a feature in our communities for generations, continue to remain on our high streets and thrive.

And they support the local economy and protect local jobs too, helping to ensure Wiltshire’s economy remains vibrant and diverse in the future.

Wiltshire Council is backing the Gazette’s Shop Local campaign throughout the county over the summer months.

This initiative aims to reassure shoppers that their safety is paramount and that their custom is valued by local high street shops and businesses.

Leader Philip Whitehead said: “During lockdown our habits changed. We bought the goods and services we needed online because many shops and businesses were closed.

“Local shops and businesses are at the heart of our high streets and our local community. They’ve done so much to ensure they are safe for their customers and their staff and it’s great to see them open again. It’s vital we now show them our support and shop local.

“Such campaigns are a great opportunity to experience the wonderfully diverse offerings our high streets have. There’s nothing better than buying local, fresh produce, handcrafted items or something you cannot get anywhere else other than our local high street.

“Local businesses provide a completely different customer experience to what you get online simply because they know their customers best. So next time you’re looking for a tasty treat, a gift idea or something to brighten your home, don’t forget to stay safe and shop local.”

This week, the government is running its Shop Local Week, with seven days of concentrated activity encouraging shoppers to return to their local high street and shop safely. This is part of a wider Enjoy Summer Safely campaign to inspire everyone to get back to the things they enjoy, within safety guidelines.