Following a challenging year for local retailers, North Devon Council's 'Live Love Local' campaign is asking residents to pledge their support to their local shops this Christmas.

The 'Live Love Local' campaign was launched by the council following the first national lockdown in order to support North Devon's high streets and local businesses to reopen and operate safely. After successfully reopening in the summer, non-essential town centre shops were again forced to close their doors when the Government imposed a second lockdown. To help local retailers through the challenges of the pandemic, the 'Live Love Local' campaign is calling on residents to make a pledge to buy local this festive season.

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, Hannah Harrington, says: "This year has been incredibly hard for local businesses, many of which are dependent on the Christmas shopping season to survive. In order to ensure our high street shops are able to reopen when lockdown is over, we are asking you to join us in making a pledge to shop locally for your Christmas gifts and goods this year. 

"Whether it’s pledging to buy your Christmas vegetables from the local greengrocers, your turkey from the local butchers, or your 'Secret Santa' gifts from a local business, we'd love you to make the pledge to support local this Christmas - and share it with us on social media to help spread the word.

"With online shops, click and collect options, phone orders, Facebook sales, and vouchers to use later, our local shops are making it possible for us to feel some semblance of normality, even now. It's so important that we repay them with our support. To make your pledge, post a photograph of your local purchase on social media and tag 'Live Love Local' on Facebook or Instagram (@livelovelocalnorthdevon) or use #livelovelocalnorthdevon. The 'Live Love Local' team will share your post and help spread the word to 'support local' this Christmas."

Alongside the pledge, the campaign is inviting residents to use its Lockdown Shopping Directory, which lists local businesses that have continued to operate during lockdown. This - alongside free parking at a number of North Devon Council car parks between 4-6pm during lockdown so that residents can pick up their click and collect orders - is designed to help businesses continue to sell to the community during these difficult weeks.

More information on the 'Live Love Local' campaign is available on the North Devon Council's website. Local businesses that would like to be added to the directory should contact the 'Live Love Local' team on the Facebook or Instagram page, or email communications@northdevon.gov.uk.

The council's 'Live Love Local' campaign is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and HM Government.