It is more important than ever to support Copeland's local, independent shops.

As the borough begins to get back on its feet following the disruption brought about by the coronavirus lockdown, Newsquest Cumbria, publishers of the News & Star, has partnered with Copeland Council to help shine a light on the area's fantastic independent retailers.

The "Shop Local: Keep it in Copeland" campaign, backed by Newsquest Cumbria has today been launched by Copeland Council and elected mayor Mike Starkie.

As part of the campaign, the council has introduced a dedicated business development officer to help promote Copeland's independent businesses to a wider audience.

An online directory of the borough's independent retailers has also been published by the council.

Mr Starkie described the array of local independent shops across Copeland as "fantastic".

“We have a fantastic array of local, independent shops here in Copeland, many of which have been here for generations, that complement our national chain stores.

“As we continue with our recovery from Covid-19, it is vitally important – now more than ever – that we support our local businesses," he said.

“Whatever you’re looking to purchase, before going online, please ask yourself if you could buy it from your local shop first.

“Throughout the Covid crisis, our local retailers and businesses have gone above and beyond to support our residents and communities in their time of need. Now it’s our turn to reciprocate that support."

He added that the full range of Copeland's independent businesses will be backed by the campaign.

“It’s not just about retail," he said. "We are using the campaign to support and promote all Copeland’s businesses – pubs and eateries; salons and barbers; estate agents; travel agents; garages; tradespeople; we’re here for everyone.

“I’m encouraging businesses to use the campaign to actively promote themselves, and customers to support our businesses by sharing details of the great service they’ve had locally.

"We’ll be more than happy to share your positive stories with the media and on our social media pages.”

Vanessa Sims, regional group editor for Newsquest Cumbria said: “Newsquest Cumbria is delighted to be working in partnership with Copeland Council to shout about all the amazing retailers we have locally.

“The coronavirus pandemic has hit many small, independent businesses hard, and as a media organisation at the heart of the local community we want to do everything we can to help those businesses restart.

“This partnership with Copeland Council will enable us to really shine a light on all the amazing independent and family-run businesses working hard to meet the needs of local shoppers.”

For more information on the campaign, to access the directory, or to contact the council’s business development officer, click here.

Follow and join the campaign on Copeland Council’s and the elected mayor’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, using the hashtag #shoplocalcopeland.