Rutland shoppers urged to back town traders

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A campaign is being launched to encourage Rutland residents to shop locally and support independent traders over the festive period.

The Christmas Shopping Trail will aim to encourage shoppers in Oakham and surrounding areas to visit the town’s independent stores over the festive period.

A similar campaign ran last year and was said to be “very successful”.

Now Oakham Town Centre Partnership is urging shoppers to once again support the trail.

The move is part of the national campaign, Celebrate an Independent Christmas, initiated by retail champion Clare Rayner, which aims to encourage customers to visit

independent shops more and for the shops to provide good customer service in return.

Oakham Town Partner-ship chairman Alf Dewis said: “Oakham thrives on independent shops. The aim is to get more people to come here to shop rather than go to Leicester or Peterborough so we can retain the value of the town.”

Sixteen Oakham shops have signed up to the campaign, which starts on Monday, and culminates in a prize draw for a £150 shopping voucher on December 9 during the town’s late-night shopping event.

To take part, people have to collect a booklet from one of the participating shops and get it stamped by at least 10 stores taking part. No purchase is necessary and once people have enough stamps they can hand the booklet in at one of the shops taking part.

Kate Yardley, an events consultant brought in by the partnership to help organise the trail, said: “It is intended to be a fun, family challenge for shoppers that can also deliver a positive impact on the local business community.

“This year we’ve made it a lot easier with only 10 stamps to be collected from November 25 until December 9.”

The shops taking part are: Itch Gallery, Knights Yard; Savvi Travel, The Maltings; Fords of Oakham, Church Street; Hannah Coxhead, Melton Road; Kids and More, Crown Walk; Whipper-In Hotel, Market Place; Wardrobe, Gaol Street; Furleys, High Street; Elephant Room, South Street; Mint. Northgate; Vanilla, Mill Street; Lord Nelson, Market Place; Stephen Diggle Jewellers, High Street; Otters Deli, Mill Street; Chameleon, Mill Street; and Joules of Stamford (one day only on December 9) at a stall in Victoria Hall.

The British Independent Retailers Association said supporting independent shops was in the interest of the community.

Michael Weedon, its deputy chief executive, said: “What is different about independent shops is that quite a high proportion of the money spent with them will stay in the local economy.

“It’s important that people support them because they protect the economic viability of a place.”

Completed booklets can also be handed in at the late-night shopping event at the stage before 7.45pm.

The prize will be drawn at 8pm by Oakham mayor Adam Lowe in the Market Place.