BY JACKIE KEOGH AND KIERAN O’MAHONY
BUSINESS leaders and organisations around West Cork have this week urged the public to shop close to home between now and Christmas, in a bid to provide much-needed support for the local economy.
Access Credit Union has launched a discount card to encourage more people to ‘spend local’ in the run-up to Christmas and into the future.
Businesses will also be offering personalised virtual shopping via WhatsApp and Zoom for customers, in a bid to beat lockdown during Level 5.
The Love Local initiative, being run in conjunction with Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce, and Schull and Bandon Business Associations, will see dozens of businesses offer exclusive discounts and daily deals to the more than 28,000 Access Credit Union members.
Meanwhile, a new voucher scheme initiated by Bandon Business Association (BBA) which goes live on Monday October 26th will see almost 60 businesses taking part.
‘We are encouraging people to buy these vouchers and even use them at a later stage,’ said Jonathan Tyner of the Bandon Business Association. ‘It’s a versatile gift which ensures the money stays with local businesses that support our community all the time.’
‘A lot of the businesses here are moving online for this period with many opting for click and collect or taking telephone orders and now more than ever they need to be supported. With Christmas approaching, these are ideal gifts to buy for anyone.’
The vouchers are available to buy from O’Farrell’s newsagents and Bandon Books Plus and online from www.bandonbusiness.com.
In Bantry, after the town was hit, yet again, by flooding, Business Association chair Diarmaid Murphy said that now, more than ever, it was important for local people to show their support for local jobs, local businesses, and the local economy.
Speaking to The Southern Star Diarmaid said: ‘Not only is it possible, it’s also highly practical to shop locally, and online, by using a click and collect service from the wide variety of shops we have here in Bantry.
‘People can also buy Bantry Business Association vouchers from Bantry Credit Union and use them in nearly every shop in town.’
The term ‘shop local’ is more than just a tagline, it has to be a way of life, according to Kevin O’Regan of Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce.
‘For our community to continue to exist, all aspects of our community must be supported. No one wants a ghost town. Things are delicate at the moment and we need to tip the balance in favour of our community over the likes of Amazon and other international giants.’
In Castletownbere, Sandra Regan O’Shea, the treasurer of the local development association said: ‘Castletownbere is open for business. Shop at home is the message, because by supporting the local economy and local jobs we can safeguard our community for future generations.’
Cllr Marie O’Sullivan, who runs her own business in Kinsale, said now more than ever the businesses need the support of the local community.
‘Covid brought out the best in people in Kinsale and we really saw this in March with the setting up of the local Covid Volunteer Group which was spearheaded by the very people who had to close their businesses. I feel it’s really the turn of the community in Kinsale to give back to the businesses and very important that we shop local, we stay local and eat local,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
‘Most business owners will be operating behind closed doors and will be doing a ‘click and collect’ through their Facebook pages so it’s vital people use this during the lockdown. These are the people who give us the spot prizes for your draws and give your children the work experience so it’s vitally important everyone is there to support each other.’
A Bandon councillor has got together with other locals to ‘spread kindness, not Covid’ by helping people during this current the six-week lockdown.
Cllr Sean O’Donovan said that they are offering help to anyone in the locality who may need grocery shopping or prescriptions collected or just want a chat on the phone.
‘Please get in contact with me and we would be delighted to help you out. I would like to thank all the volunteers who have contacted me about it,’ said Cllr O’Donovan who can be contacted on his Facebook page.
This week Guaranteed Irish unveiled its new gifting website GuaranteedIrishGifts.ie, showcasing the best Irish gift ideas from corporate gifts to personalised presents. The site features homegrown Cork businesses such as Clonakilty Black Pudding, Durrus Cheese, Michael Twomey Butchers, Kinsale Mead Co, and more.