Time for us to back the local businesses that back us

When we think back to when things were simpler. No, I don’t mean February. I mean back in the mists of time when all we knew were the horizons on the edge of our towns and villages. Back then, we did not have a greater knowledge of the world outside. For us, our existence and almost everything we required was lived and available within that small geographic location. Back thing everyone was local, apart from blow-ins to the bank or school who, to be fair, had to be local from somewhere else, and would probably end up our locals (unless forty years later they did something bad and we’d start calling them blow-ins again. )

My mind goes back to those times in these times because of the way we have all had to apply a handbrake to our lives. Suddenly getting in for work with all the other robots in traffic matters a little less because a lot of the work could be done from home. In one fell swoop, there was money from the Government for everything, even if it does have to be paid back and we will feel the brunt of it for years to come.

What it did show though was that everything was possible, and that once again, everything that is enjoyable seemed to be local. We took joy from seeing and hearing our own areas in a different light, we looked at big skies, we wondered as wildlife sauntered through the streets again, when nature painted manicured lawns with a host of dandelions.

Like dust, it is from local that we have come, and perhaps it is to local that we shall return some day. The highlight of our lives in our communities is based on all the things that we enjoy doing. The places we eat and drink, the shops we frequent, the facilities we use, the people who do our hair, those who line the sports pitches we run and play on, the places we express our beliefs, the places we go to to seek sanctuary and solace.

This is what makes our life so enjoyable — the idea that the penny we spend goes from pocket to pocket around and around, giving everyone a chance at earning a living. These establishments have laid down their lives for us all now, in a manner of speaking, and it is up to us to breathe life back into them. Never before has our community needed us so much.

All around us this week lie the closed shutters of businesses that shut down so that our lives could be saved, so that the spread of infection in our communities could be halted. Many of those shops, restaurants, businesses are now finding it difficult to re-open, because new guidelines make unsustainable their old business models. Overnight, everything has changed for them.

Local business closed down to save our lives, now we need to help them. In a few months from now, when we are inhaling autumn air and watching our local sports teams again on green unyellowed pitches, it will be the names of those local businesses that you will see around the sidelines, on the jerseys, on the presentation photos on the walls.

Local businesses and events have taken a right bashing from all of this, but we need them to be strong again. Do what you can to offer a helping hand to the businesses re-opening; buy a coffee, offer them a word of encouragement, consider volunteering yourself to help cut long grass on pitches, to play a greater role in the community that has sustained us through all of this.

So that when we reach the end of this lockdown, there will be a community there for us all to enjoy again.


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