Leeds unites to buy local this Christmas

Buy Leeds campaign

People across Leeds are being urged to buy from local independent businesses and makers for their Christmas shopping this year, as part of a new citizen-led campaign called #BuyLeeds – and the coordinators are especially asking south Leeds businesses to get involved.

Independent businesses have been hit hard by the effects of this year’s Covid-19 crisis, and are more vulnerable than the big chains in the face of economic downturns. This campaign is aiming to help safeguard jobs and businesses in the city, by asking regular people everywhere to spend their money with smaller stores and producers wherever possible – starting this Christmas, but for the future too.

The #BuyLeeds website already features scores of locally-owned businesses, including: cafes and restaurants, pubs and brewers, bakers and caterers, record stores, artists and makers, jewellers and knitters, bookshops, and many more. But the coordinators are aware that there are still “lots of holes” – including a shortage so far of south Leeds establishments – and they are keen to see the campaign feature and benefit a wider range of businesses.

Jack Simpson manages Eiger Studios near Hunslet Moor, and is one of the campaign coordinators. He commented:

“It’s been a very difficult year for many, for obvious reasons. Whilst the big chains grab the headlines, it’s the independent ones who are suffering worst. We’ve launched this campaign in a hurry, to try and catch the Christmas shopping, and we’re aware that it doesn’t yet do justice to every corner of the city; for example, we’d love to hear from south Leeds businesses, and get them featured. The way we all spend our money can make such a difference to local businesses, and to our communities and city – please #BuyLeeds this Christmas, and beyond. As well as a difficult time, this is a moment for the city to unite, to support its own. All Leeds, Aren’t We?”

South Leeds Life has long championed locally-run businesses (read last year’s ‘Love Your Local’ front page feature here).  Big business has its place – but independent businesses play a crucial role in the life of our city and communities. According to research bodies like the New Economics Foundation, money spent at ‘indies’ is disproportionately more beneficial to the local area (by a factor of between 50-100%), than money spent at non-locally-owned businesses: local businesses are far more likely to invest in local supply chains for example, and profits don’t disappear to shareholders around the world.

This is even more so the case with non-local internet shopping, which sees an estimated two thirds of your money leave the city for good – whereas money spent with local suppliers or retailers multiplies itself in the city’s economy to the tune of an added 75%. Independent businesses also typically have smaller carbon footprints, generate more jobs, help form a stronger and more vibrant economy, and pay more tax.

For the latest #BuyLeeds news and more, look on social media for #BuyLeeds – and please help spread the word. Any independent retailers, suppliers, makers or venues are welcome to sign up – click here. At this stage, the coordinators are especially keen to hear from businesses that are able to offer Christmas-related goods, either in the form of gifts or vouchers, or food or other seasonal items related to the festival.