A CHRISTMAS scavenger hunt is underway at a number of the city's local businesses.

A mischievous elf from Bricks in Bloom, Carlisle has been visiting local businesses to try and encourage locals to visit over Christmas.

So far, the elf has visited businesses like Aztec Soft Play, Castle Chocolates and Lakeland Gifts.

The scavenger hunt was kicked off on Sunday, December 4 and will conclude on Tuesday, December 20, with the elf visiting a new business every day.

Participants in the hunt are encouraged to visit every local business that the Christmas elf appears at to collect a sticker for their scavenger hunt cards.

Once obtaining a full card, it can be exchanged for a free gift at Brick Lane.

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Leigha Middleton, director at Bricks in Bloom, explained why the scavenger hunt has been created.

She said: "We are hoping to promote lots of different places in Carlisle as well as our shop.

"Given the difficult times we are currently facing it's important for small businesses to stick together otherwise the high street will empty even more than it already is.

"The feedback so far has been great and even if it helps just a little bit it will be worth it."

Ms Middleton also emphasised the importance of supporting local businesses in the run up to - and after - the festive period.

She said: "We are rapidly approaching the time of the year after Christmas where we struggle most so we are hoping people remember we are there and come out and support us.

"They don't even have to buy anything just pop in and say hello.

"We always have a safe warm space for people to come and sit or play for free."

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