Sign showing Thank you for shopping Local
Image credit: Tim Mossholder

As the evenings get darker and the clocks have changed, we start to turn our attention to the festive season. Love it or not, Christmas will soon be here.

Before you look to shop online to buy gifts for your loved ones this year, take a moment to consider shopping in East Devon. 

Cllr Matt Hall, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said:

It’s a tough time for families at the moment, with the cost-of-living crisis and high energy prices. Just recently, it has been reported that more and more small businesses are struggling to survive with some deciding to close their doors for good.

If we all decided to shop locally for gifts this year, we could make a big difference to our businesses and communities. East Devon is oozing with delicious local food and eateries, bursting with makers and crafters, and brimming with unique boutiques and independent shops. We’re very lucky to have such an abundance on our doorsteps. So as Christmas light switch-on and late-night shopping events begin, please buy local to avoid saying bye-bye local.

Seven reasons to shop local for Christmas and throughout the year:

  1. Find bespoke and original gifts, for example at Thelma Hulbert Gallery’s Present Makers 2023 exhibition. Launching on 11 November, you will find a wealth of hand-crafted gift ideas that showcase the talent of local contemporary craftspeople and design makers. 
  2. Support local businesses, for example:  The Made in Devon scheme helps you discover verified Devon-based businesses that produce handmade crafts, artisanal foods, bespoke furniture and fashion.  
  3. Put money back into your community, for example, Axminster’s Totally Locally campaign says that £5 a week spent locally, could be worth £1.8m going into the local economy.
  4. Protect local jobs, for example, ‘Shop Budleigh’ [follow them on Instagram @shopbudleigh], is asking local people to make a pledge to do at least one thing locally, as Christmas sales are vital for sustaining businesses through the winter.
  5. Preserve the heart of your community. You can park until midnight at East Devon District Council owned car parks for just £2, until the end of March 2024.
  6. Reduce your carbon footprint by travelling locally instead of further afield.
  7. Reduce traffic congestion and air pollution – perhaps you can walk or cycle to your local shops?