A CAMPAIGN designed to provide vital support to local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic has been singled out for recognition,

Copeland Borough Council's Shop Local campaign, run in conjunction with Newsquest Cumbria - publishers of The Cumberland News, The Whitehaven News, the Times & Star, the News & Star, The Mail and The Westmorland Gazette - was launched to offer free advice to struggling businesses, as well as making sure their voices were heard.

At Wednesday night's Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster Shadow Board Awards, the campaign was named winner of the Better Place to Live and Work Award.

The BECBC Shadow Board Awards 2020 is not a true replacement of the BECBC Awards, but a way for the board to recognise its members' brilliant work despite the challenges of the global pandemic.

Jason Savage, Shadow Board chairman, said: “We created four awards based on our four strategic themes.

"We were impressed with the number and quality of the entries from our members and decided to award a winner and a highly commended for each award.

"Well done to everyone who entered. It's fantastic to read about the work our members have done in this difficult year to support their own businesses, other members and our community.”

On Copeland Council's campaign, Adam Pearson, Shadow Board BPLW lead, said: “During what has been a very challenging year for many, perhaps especially for those working in retail, it’s amazing to see the great work that has been done by Copeland Borough Council to support local businesses through their Shop Local Campaign, an initiative led by Jenny Brumby.

“Jenny has made every effort to ensure the voices of local businesses are heard, whilst also providing valuable free advice to help them through this difficult time.

"With more than 500 businesses reached so far, the success of this initiative is undeniable and we would therefore like to congratulate Jenny and the CBC team for their efforts, resulting in a well-deserved win.”

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “We are thrilled that our #shoplocalcopeland campaign has been honoured.

“We started this campaign in July to support Copeland's business community in their time of need; they had been there for us during the height of the pandemic and we felt it was important to encourage our community to reciprocate that support - both in our Covid recovery and on into the future.

“I'd like to thank our business community for supporting the campaign - it's great to see our 'Shop Local' stickers in windows and doors in shops and businesses across the borough.

“Part of the campaign has been to appoint a dedicated Shop Local Coordinator to work directly with businesses, and I'm pleased to say that despite the challenges we are facing, Jenny Brumby has worked with more than 500 businesses so far. The offer of support is open to every business in Copeland.

“I'd also like to thank The Whitehaven News and Newsquest for supporting the campaign, and continuing to offer our businesses first-class coverage week after week.”

The win was also welcomed by Lee Taylor-Craddock, sales director at Newsquest Cumbria.

"We are delighted to have partnered with the council on this very important campaign, and it is fantastic to see it receive recognition at a time when the high streets in Copeland really needed a boost," he said.

"The pandemic has made trading incredibly tough for many local independent business this year. Copeland Council was quick to recognise it needed to throw its full support behind its high streets and has taken a really innovative and creative campaign to market. I'm sure it has made a difference to businesses and prompted residents to 'think local' first.

"As the biggest provider of local news across the area, both in print and online, our journalists have been on hand to ensure this campaign has received the exposure it deserves since launch. It is has been great to use our huge local audiences and reach as a vehicle to support this campaign and push the message out there.

"We very much look forward to working with Copeland in the future and continuing to support this campaign into next year."

For more information on the campaign, visit www.copeland.gov.uk/shop-local-campaign