Together We Make a Difference!
The past years have been tough for many local businesses. Whilst the summers saw a staycation boom putting much-needed money into the tills of our restaurants, cafés, shops and accommodation providers, the past winter months have been testing times.
Supporting Our Community is an initiative led by New Forest District Council in partnership with Go New Forest to showcase the wonderful businesses that help make the New Forest a special place to live in and visit. There are so many benefits to shopping local which makes a big difference to keeping our high streets thriving.
Just by making a couple of extra local trips; from a quick lunch with friends, picking up a Go New Forest Card, to swapping some of your trips to the supermarket to local shops, that extra spend in our local economy makes a huge difference.
Retail Therapy in the Forest
Technology has changed the way we shop and online shopping can free up time in our hectic schedules, but we’re all starting to realise the therapeutic benefits of a good ‘old fashioned’ stroll down the high street.
Lockdown saw many of us turn to online deliveries, whilst others shunned busy supermarkets in favour of smaller farm shops or outdoor markets. Research shows those two trends are likely to continue but crucially almost two thirds of us will continue to shop local. The independent or artisan retailer ‘experience’ and its personal customer service is something that can’t be replicated online. Nor can that warm welcome, smile and story behind how a product was made or crafted. Every one of our towns and villages still has a fabulous choice of locally owned shops including art galleries and antiques, craft shops, local produce and designer clothes shops.
A little more shopping local goes a long way
We’ve pulled out ten top reasons to support local shops and businesses.
- The Local ‘Circular’ Economy
Every £10 spent with a local independent shop puts up to an additional £50 back into the local economy.
- Local Creates Jobs Investing in local businesses means you help protect local jobs. Small, local businesses are surprisingly the largest employer in the retail sector.
- Customer service & shopping experience You can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who’s passionate about their business or products. The relationship between local owner and customer is more than just a one-off purchase.
- Better for the Environment
If more people chose to pop to the local high street than drive to a superstore, this would considerably reduce air pollution, traffic and improve the quality of the environment.
- Originality and Individuality
In a world of global brands and products, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety into our communities.
- Local Entrepreneurs & Innovators
Choosing the smaller, local option over the larger chain businesses enables more local entrepreneurs get their foot in the door.
- Creating an Identity
A thriving high street filled with unique, vibrant and colourful shops attracts more tourism and helps make a community a more enjoyable area in which to live and work.
- Local Business for Local Charities
Many local businesses support local charities, so, by shopping locally you are helping to increase local donations.
- If Things Go Wrong
When things go wrong having a person to talk face to face with avoids endless time waiting on the phone and results in a more satisfactory conclusion.
- Personality & Character
The New Forest currently has far more locally owned businesses than usual. They are run by local people, not by distant boards, stockholders or algorithms, meaning not only do they contribute to the aesthetics of this special place, but add character to the community and a touch of warm, welcoming personality. Let’s keep it that way.
Shop Local & Save with a Go New Forest Card
Shopping with a Go New Forest Card you not only save money but by doing so support locally owned businesses.
With discounts from our top attractions to five-star dining, from bike hire to taxi fares, from cream teas to the latest fashion, beauty therapies to overnight accommodation even MOT’s and all sorts of business services, there is an offer for everyone. And it’s been proven you can get your money back in your first purchase! Thousands of residents, visitors and businesses own a Go New Forest Card and they all benefit from special unique deals from over 350 participating locally owned businesses. Details of all special offers and discounts can be found on card.gonewforest.com. Card offers are regularly promoted to cardholders via social media channels and Go New Forest’s Weekly What’s On e-newsletter. Local businesses can join the scheme free in exchange for providing a unique good value offer for cardholders and promote the scheme. Visit card.gonewforest.com
Celebrating Local Food & Drink
It’s time to properly celebrate and support our phenomenal and unique food & drink scene through the Taste the New Forest campaign.
From farmers and local artisan producers who grow and create our amazing food and drink, to the shops and hamper companies that sell it. And, we can’t forget our talented chefs who turn those raw ingredients into memorable and delicious dishes; whether a relaxed weekday lunch of something a little more formal. In short, there is a whole host of incredible food and drink produced in the New Forest and surrounding areas, from cheese, smoked meats, eggs, cider, ales to locally-sourced produce including game, beef, pannage pork and seafood as well as a wide range of crops grown here too. Lots of local shops in and around the forest sell this sumptuous produce for use in your own dishes at home or for visitors to make up their perfect picnic.
The forest is famous for our cosy, thatched pubs, and fine dining restaurants which are a gastronomic delight at any time of day. Our quaint cafés or tearooms are the perfect place to relax with a cuppa and a slice of cake after a long walk in the forest, or for a tasty breakfast, brunch or lunch.
You can find out more about Taste the New Forest by visiting www.thenewforest.co.uk or signing up to Go New Forest’s Weekly What’s On for news or offers. Here in the New Forest we are proud of our established foodie events, including the annual Lymington Seafood Festival which takes place from 15th – 17th July.
The New Forest Marque
The New Forest Marque is the sign of true local food and produce, championing businesses which pride themselves on producing and providing culinary or thirst quenching delights with a clearly defined New Forest provenance.
The Marque is awarded to businesses whose produce has been grown, reared, caught, brewed, produced or processed within the New Forest. Buying products from businesses who have been awarded the New Forest Marque and visiting cafés, pubs, hotels or shops who use or sell New Forest Marque produce is a fantastic way to support the local community, all while getting to enjoy some top quality products.
Weekly What’s On Enewsletter
With Spring around the corner, there’s no better time to get out and about and support our shops, book a lunch catch up with friends or take in that attraction to keep the kids entertained. To find out What’s On across the New Forest, or sign up to receive your own Weekly What’s On in the New Forest visit www.thenewforest.co.uk
Care for the forest, care for each other
During the last two years local partner organisations created Care for the Forest care for each other campaign to promote the importance of looking after our special destination. We would like to thank everyone who has done so much to support the forest by working together, right across the community. Many additional measures and actions were taken to help care for this special landscape during these difficult times, and the graphic below highlights some of these and their impact. The New Forest is a great place to visit for walking, dog walking, cycling and horse riding for everyone.
When you’re out in the forest and are enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the rich wildlife, please help us to care for this very special place. Help us in protecting and taking care of our beautiful, unique wildlife and nature in the New Forest by following the New Forest Code. Just a few simple steps that make all the difference!