Research carried out on behalf of Westmeath Local Enterprise Office as part of their ‘Look for Local’ campaign has shown that 86 percent of county consumers were now more likely to buy local, either online or in store, this year, compared to 2019, as a result of recent campaigns to highlight local businesses.
“The Look for Local campaign has provided a significant boost to local businesses and I am particularly pleased to see from the survey that a huge majority of consumers in Westmeath and Longford are more likely to buy locally this year, both in-store and online. As we are all too aware 2020 has been the most challenging year imaginable with local businesses under huge pressure so the support of the local community is a great boost for them,” Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Deputy Robert Troy, remarked.
Of those surveyed nationally, 8 out of 10 said that they were aware of campaigns, including that of the Local Enterprise Offices, encouraging individuals and businesses to look locally when buying goods or services.
Of those surveyed 85 percent felt there were more local businesses trading online than in 2019, while 83 percent plan to support more local businesses in 2021.
The Local Enterprise Offices have approved over 11,000 Trading Online Vouchers this year, an increase of over 800 percent from 2019. The voucher enables small businesses to get established online or improve an existing online presence.
“Local businesses have shown great resilience throughout this year and made huge efforts to maintain links with their customers, so it is good to see those efforts rewarded. I would encourage people to continue to support local businesses by shopping locally and safely in store, by phone or online.”
The ‘Look for Local’ campaign is being pushed out by each of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide and the Look for Local hub on www.localenterprise.ie/LookforLocal now has over 4,200 businesses listed from a range of sectors that enables consumers and businesses to search for goods and services within their area.
The research was released to coincide with ‘Look for Local Day’ where the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities are putting an increased online focus on local businesses. This includes online promotions, offers and giveaways as part of the ‘Look for Local’ campaign.
Covid-19 financial supports for Westmeath community and voluntary groups
Meanwhile, Deputy Troy, has welcomed funding of €46,854 provided by the Government to support Westmeath community and voluntary groups in dealing with Covid-19.
The funding will be made available to local authority areas, and Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs ) who will administer the funding to groups in each area.
“The last nine-months have demonstrated the vital role our community and voluntary groups play in supporting us, keeping us well, and maintaining a sense of community spirit in these difficult times. This funding is very welcome and will assist local community and voluntary groups to adapt to Covid-19, for example, to allow them to make changes to premises to provide for social distancing, funding for on-line activities and the provision of critical social supports.
“The funding will enable groups to embrace the Government’s ‘Keep Well’ campaign which focusses on the themes of staying connected, switching off and being creative, and minding your mood. Groups should check with their LCDC or Westmeath County Council for further details.
“This year has brought the best out in communities across the country, especially in Westmeath, and I hope this funding will assist these groups to continue providing supports to those who need it most,” Deputy Troy concluded.