Published 4th December 2020
In preparation for the expected rush of Christmas shoppers to the town’s shops, our councillors and council staff have been working closely with local businesses across the Borough to offer a boost to the local economy following a challenging time for businesses up and down the country. As part of these plans, we are promoting:
- The ‘Shop Local’ campaign, which coincides with the change in the Government’s national restrictions and sees Southend entering the new Tier 2 restrictions. Whilst observing social distancing and other safety measures such as wearing face coverings, shoppers are being encouraged to visit their local shops. Shoppers are asked to promote their support for local businesses on social media, using #ShopLocal / #ShopSouthendonSea, and tag the local shops you have visited.
- Shopping locally via the Click and Collect service featured on the VisitSouthend website. The council has been working with partners and key stakeholders to develop a business directory where businesses in the Borough can sign up for free if they offer a click and collect service. Shoppers can easily navigate through the list and shop with local traders.
Labour’s Kevin Robinson, Southend Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Growth and Tourism, said: “We are doing everything we can to provide the support our local businesses need. I am pleased to see that free parking is once again available for residents and visitors after 4pm on Thursdays, to support late night shopping, and all-day Sundays in December and this year this will be in all council-owned car parks across the Borough.”
“We have been meeting regularly with key representatives from the main shopping areas to find out how we can work more closely together, and to provide support and promote our local shops and businesses. I would ask all visitors to ensure they adhere to guidance around social distancing and sanitise hands when entering and leaving the stores to help prevent the spread of the virus.”
“I also hope that all of our local businesses that are able to provide a click and collect service, sign up to the directory, and I hope local residents make use of this too and support local businesses.”
If you are interested in getting involved in the business meetings, please email email@example.com for details.
Artwork created by local artists will be popping up around the town promoting keeping safe whilst returning to the Borough’s shops. It will appear in shopping districts across the town from this week and will promote key messages for keeping to social distancing measures and also reminding visitors of the ‘hands, face, space’ message.
Two local artists – Sarah Judd and Darren Goddard – had their designs chosen by a panel of representatives from the council, Southend BID, retailers and businesses across the Borough, following a request for submissions in July 2020 across the Visit Southend social media channels. Sarah’s work will appear on signs throughout the various shopping areas across the town, reiterating the social distancing message, whilst Darren’s work will feature on bus stops across Southend, promoting the ‘hands, face, space’ message.
The project is led by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Southend BID, and the artists are funded through the Reopening High Streets Safely fund and the European Regional Development fund, which had last been used to put safety measures in place to safely open the town’s shopping districts following the lockdown in March.
Cllr Kevin Robinson said: “I am delighted to see local artists having their work displayed across the Borough for thousands of visitors to see as they return to the shops for their Christmas shopping. In a time when the arts industry has had such a challenging year, I was pleased to see that we’ve been able to support Southend’s incredible cultural talents. The hardest part of it all was to select the winners from all the fantastic submissions we received, and I would like to thank everyone who submitted a design for this project.”
Suzanne Gloyne, Southend Business Improvement District manager, said: “We know that everyone has had an extremely challenging year, but with businesses that were temporarily closed now reopening, I am pleased that we have been able to provide local artists this platform to share their pieces of art with all of the town’s visitors. I would like to encourage local artists to keep their eyes peeled, as we are hopeful that we are able to build on this project and provide further opportunities to support our talented residents.”
In addition to the signs created by local artists, the standard shop local, shop safe signage put up on lampposts earlier this year have also been replaced with new lamppost and bollard signs across shopping areas.