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Scotland’s Towns Partnership: “Think Local First” During Coronavirus Crisis

Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Phil Prentice, has issued a plea to the general public to “think local first” when adapting to COVID-19 guidelines  

A leading figure in the fight to enhance Scotland’s town centres has issued a plea for people to think local and support businesses in their own communities as the nation adapts to the coronavirus crisis. 

Mr Prentice, who is also National Programme Director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts, made the call following reports of many small businesses facing a significant downturn in business with threats that many would have to lay off staff or even close completely. He urged the public to work with local businesses who would be innovating and changing the way they provide goods and services – within Scottish and UK Government public health advice – to adapt to social distancing requirements instead of resorting to big online-based retailers.

He pointed to many businesses moving to online or phone-based orders and providing delivery services to the front door, thus avoiding unnecessary contact, and the businesses completely changing their offer to help more vulnerable members of the community. Many have also already showed commitment to their communities by supporting grassroots campaigns to help those already self isolating,

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) is the national body for Scotland’s town centres and provides policy expertise, advice and best practice guidance to support a wide range of projects across Scotland.

Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnerships, Phil Prentice, said:

“This is a critical time for our town centres and many local businesses desperately need our support. Our town centres aren’t just buildings and streets. The people who own the businesses aren’t just some group of abstract entrepreneurs. They are our brothers and sisters, our cousins, our sons and daughters and our friends. They are part of our community. Whilst it is of the utmost importance that people strictly observe the public health guidelines from both the Scottish and UK Governments, I’m urging people not to forget our town centres who will face significant hardship in the coming weeks.

“Many local businesses are innovating and being creative about how they can provide their goods and services within the confines of new public health guidelines – many are now offering online and over-the-phone orders with deliveries. Many are re-purposing their businesses to offer something completely different, often helping vulnerable people in need of support in the wider community. Local people, too, can be creative in how they support local businesses to do this.

“These are anxious times for us all, but my plea is that we all come together to do what we can to support our local town centres. When we’re all adapting to the government guidelines, think local first. Think about whether you can get what you need from a local business. If we pull together, we can help our small businesses to get through this crisis and on the far end we’ll need to redouble our efforts to help them get back on their feet.”