East Riding of Yorkshire Council has teamed up with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the East Yorkshire Local Food Network (EYLFN) to encourage residents and local communities in the East Riding to support their local and independent traders.
The message is a timely one as Small Business Saturday UK, a grassroots, non-commercial campaign which highlights small business success and encourage consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities, takes place tomorrow (Sat Dec 5).
While the campaign itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, it aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.
The East Riding is home to thousands of micro-businesses and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which, together, play a hugely important role in the area’s economy.
The council and its partners take their part in supporting local businesses very seriously.
Cllr Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economic investment and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Small Business Saturday is a national campaign that this council and its partners whole-heartedly endorse.
“The East Riding is home to thousands of SMEs and micro-businesses and the council does all it can to support them. It is vitally important that consumers, where possible, shop local as this benefits the area’s economy and helps businesses to flourish and prosper.
“Given that the festive season is just around the corner, it is natural to think of the retail sector, but the East Riding is home to SMEs and micro-businesses in a whole range of sectors and that is why we are working with the FSB, NFU and EYLFN to highlight the importance they play and encourage people to contract and trade with local businesses.”
NFU York East County Adviser Lucinda Douglas said the county’s farmers were already in overdrive preparing for the Christmas period: “East Yorkshire is home to a wealth of small farmer-run food and drink businesses, aiming to cater for all tastes and budgets.
“Everything from wonderfully fresh vegetables to a superb joint of beef or Christmas turkey, complete with a festive tipple - it’s all produced right here on our doorsteps.
“Farmers work all year to produce crops and rear their livestock, so it makes sense to shop local and support local food production – after all the UK is only 62 per cent self-sufficient in food.
“Whether you are shopping at your local farmers’ market or in a supermarket, it’s easy to back British farming – just get chatting at the market or look out for the Red Tractor logo in the big retailers.”
Mike Bisby, chairman of the FSB’s East Yorkshire Branch, said: “Small businesses are the mainstay of towns throughout the East Riding. They generate wealth, employment and opportunity. They are the glue that binds our local communities together.
“The UK economy is driven by small businesses. They make up 99 per cent of all businesses; they are the engine for the growth and job creation which underpins the rich fabric of our society and the bed rock of a stable economy.
“Small independent businesses are unique in that, unlike the large corporations, they are instrumental in retaining the character and colour of the local community.
“The Federation of Small Businesses is delighted that the council has decided to ease parking restrictions throughout the festive season to allow easier access to local small traders and, starting from ‘Small Business Saturday,’ we hope shoppers will make use of their local small traders and help protect the East Riding’s diversity and local character.”
Graham Ward, chairman of the East Yorkshire Local Food Network, said: “Our small local food businesses are all creating delicious local food and drink for Christmas. Please look at our Twitter for the latest news @EYLFN to really excite your taste buds.”
Thanks to its prudent financial management and in support of Small Business Saturday, the council will again be running its popular free Christmas parking scheme in the three weekends running up to Christmas.
All council car parks will be free on Saturday 5, 12 and 19 and Sunday 6, 13 and 20 December, from 8am on Saturday until 8am on Monday.
Normal parking rules still apply, such as those around disabled parking bays and maximum stays.