We love our small businesses in Forest Gate. But I’ve had a couple of reminders recently about how precarious life can be for the small, independent businesses that we depend on so much, not only for coffee, food, and vital supplies, but also because they supply the vibrance and local character that lifts our local high streets. The first reminder was the reading about the ‘Just a card‘ campaign on social media. This campaign is based on a quote from a small business owner, ‘”If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card’ we’d still be open“. It aims to encourage consumers to realise the importance of small purchases, and not to be embarrassed to purchase something small instead of nothing at all.
I was also part of a conversation with Laura and Alicia from Woodgrange market, who pointed out that our wonderful local market is still very much in need of more customers, more people supporting them through purchases. They particularly struck me when they pointed out that some of the people moving to Forest Gate from other areas of London might think that markets like Woodgrange are ‘part of the furniture’ and may not realise that it is still a relatively new innovation, and always appreciative of every bit of custom. They also reminded me that there are plenty of other local businesses that sometimes get overlooked.
With that in mind, Ellie, Seyi and I were thinking of Small Business Saturday (which is again this coming Saturday on the same day as the Christmas lights switch-on, and the Food Festival at the market) and wondered if we might be able to work with local residents to do something to help support our local businesses.
So we are launching a mini campaign for this weekend! #forestgateshoplocal
We’ll be tweeting and sharing pictures of our favourite local purchases on social media using this hashtag. We would love it if you wanted to join in – just tweet a picture of something you’ve bought locally and use #forestgateshoplocal to be part of it.
This could be something you’ve picked up from the market, an item from the Durning Hall charity shop, shellfish from the fish monger’s, absolutely anything at all. We will collect together the pictures and share the best ones in a blog post. (I have to admit I am a regular at the local shops, but am still hoping to discover some new gems and tips.)
So please, this weekend, come into Forest Gate and enjoy our local shops. It’s a big weekend, too:
The market is open from 10am – 4pm.
The Forest Gate Christmas lights switch-on takes place from 5pm at the marketplace, with festive performancse from live bands, local musicians and school choirs, along with mulled wine and mince pies from CoffeE7. Our Mayor Robin Wales will switch on the lights at 6.10pm
There is a Food Festival at the marketplace until 9pm with international food and drink for sale.
Whilst you are enjoying all that, share your favourite purchases with the hashtag #forestgateshop local, help to promote our local businesses, and follow all three of us to get some tips on where you can do your Christmas shopping locally, supporting local people who do so much for our community.
Find us on twitter:
See you there!