Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Kudos to those working in their community, by their community, for their community

Kudos this month goes to Chris Sands – the brains behind Totally Locally.

Not heard of Totally Locally? Shame on you. It is the concept of shopping locally, supporting your local businesses and creating a sense of place in your community. Now it seems like a simple idea and therein lies the beauty – it really is a simple idea with BIG THINKING behind it. Devoid of Mary Portas and white papers from David Cameron this grass roots movement germinated in Yorkshire in 2009 and, as with all great ideas, sprouted legs and over the years has reached into far flung corners of the earth including California, Australia and Greece.

There is a Totally Locally toolkit available online to download. Now, tread carefully – Councils are banned from downloading the kit. Why? Totally Locally has to start with the shop owners, the traders, the retailers themselves. Get their investment and the rest will follow. Top down ideas from the Council and the idea falters – people are alienated if they are not involved, it’s the Council thinking they know best.

2 towns download the kit each day. They are simple marketing tools which are a guide to help towns figure out how they want to launch and maintain Totally Locally. One success story (and there are far too many to include here) is Brighouse. They launched a street market, closing off the main street to cars and filling it with stalls laden to the brim with local wares. That Saturday was the busiest Saturday the market had ever seen. The knock-on effect? The following Saturday was the busiest Saturday the shops in Brighouse had ever seen: shoppers wanted to come back, the retailers had made it worth their while. Brighouse have since gone on to hold a 1940’s weekend which is/was a huge success.

Chris Sands has worked on Totally Locally without getting paid – pro bono at its best.

Click here for the Totally Locally website

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