Join hundreds of shoppers in pledge to support independent shops

Barnsley Independents Day, July 4 2017. People have signed a declaration to support the town's independent and unique businesses.
Barnsley Independents Day, July 4 2017. People have signed a declaration to support the town's independent and unique businesses.
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‘I declare to spend my money locally wherever possible’ - It’s a pledge hundreds of passionate shoppers have taken in support of their local area.

The date of July 4 became significant for the people of Barnsley this week, as they declared an Independents Day.

Style queen Rita Britton, founder of legendary Barnsley boutique Polyanna signs a declaration to support the town's independent and unique businesses on Barnsley Independents Day, July 4 2017.

Style queen Rita Britton, founder of legendary Barnsley boutique Polyanna signs a declaration to support the town's independent and unique businesses on Barnsley Independents Day, July 4 2017.

The day was launched by the council to ask people to celebrate the town’s independent shops and unique character - and earlier this week they did just that.

Residents joined councillors in signing the pledge, which also included promises to support each other and the local economy and love the town and its proud Yorkshire character.

Legendary fashionista and original Queen of Shops Rita Britton, who launched international boutique Polyanna in Barnsley in 1967, was among those to sign the pledge. She was joined by Councillor Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place.

He said: “Barnsley is home to a fantastic rang of independent shops, stalls and places to eat and drink.

“We’re proud to be able to celebrate the contribution that smaller independent retailers make to the vibrant town centre and thriving local economy.

“We have some real gems in Barnsley and we need to do everything we can to support these businesses that help make our town special.”

Located at various locations in the town centre from the recently revamped Victorian Arcade, to the trendy George Square and various traditional markets, Barnsley’s independent retailers offer a unique shopping experience with a wide range of products and services.

As a lover of independent retailers, I would like to see similar pledges launched across South Yorkshire. But, I don’t think we have to have a huge event to do it, (as much as I think the launch of Barnsley’s Independents Day was a great thing).

I think we can, and should, all take our own individual pledges to support the local businesses that are near to us. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of Sheffield’s independent business owners over the last few months, and I know how important business from local people is for them.

Their shops are part of what makes the city unique, and they are passionate about their trade and often offer fantastic products and services which can not to be found anywhere else. They put their hearts in to their shops and they deserve our support.

This month is also Independent Retailer Month - a national initiative that runs annually throughout July to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play. So, take a pledge and praise independents.

The launch of Independents Day also saw the introduction of ShopAppy, a digital click-and-collect service in Barnsley. People buy goods from independent shops and pick up at a unified location. Search #ShopAppiness on social media for more details. Let me know if you take a pledge. E-mail Rochelle.Barrand@jpress.co.uk.