Shoppers urged to support campaign

WESTON shoppers will be targeted by a campaign aimed at saving and sustaining the town’s independent high street businesses.

Small Change for Big Change will encourage people to spend more at their local shops rather than buying everything from one, convenient supermarket or out-of-town centre.

Organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, the campaign will run from September 19-25 and will see people being asked to sign a pledge to confirm they will spend some of their weekly budget with local independent shops and traders, farmers markets and farm shops.

Steve Sharp, campaign organiser and a Clevedon businessman, said: “Because of the convenience, most of us do all our shopping in one store at one time, so we are using the big supermarkets more and our local High Street less.

“As a result, supermarkets are increasing their offering and starting to provide all kinds of services that were previously only available from specialists.

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“Local traders are finding that they simply can’t compete and are sadly, being driven out.

“A couple of pounds spent each week at the local greengrocer’s or butchers instead of the supermarket could be the difference between those shops staying open and being forced to shut.”

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Numerous shops and businesses are getting behind the campaign and it is also hoped Weston’s MP John Penrose will back it.

Sue Baker, owner of The Art Centre, an art supplies shop in High Street, said: “It think it will be sad for Weston if we lose all of the independent shops.

“I think that is what makes is different from any other town. We are talking about whether we survive or not.”

Bryan Gibson, owner of the fancy dress shop Just For Fun in Meadow Street, said: “We do rely on these small shops to provide a specialist service or something that you cannot get in the run-of-the-mill combines.

“You get better service because you get individual service.

“We are just surviving by the skin of our teeth. A little bit extra would be nice as we would then be able to expand our range and provide larger stock.”

Posters will soon go up in shops throughout Weston and North Somerset and pledges will also be available to sign. Anyone who does sign it will be entered into a draw to win �200 worth of locally-produced food.

* To find out how to get involved in Small Change for Big Change contact Steve at

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