TODAY the Malvern Gazette launches a campaign to support local businesses to help them recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Supported by West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, our Love Local Business campaign encourages our readers to back our traders by spending their money with them.

Many of these businesses are re-opening this Monday, June 15, after more than two months of being closed, while others such as hairdressers and pubs won’t be able to trade again until July. For those businesses that have been able to remain open during the lockdown, many have seen a significant loss in income.

Gazette editor Michael Purton said: “This is a crucial time for local businesses as they try to recover from the impact of the lockdown which, for many, has seen them without any income for more than two months. In this area, we are fortunate to have so many great local, independent businesses and we need our community to support them now to make sure we don’t lose them.

“In the coming months we will be promoting these businesses in our newspaper, on our website and our social media channels, to help spread the message that they are open and highlight why they are so valuable to this community.

“I urge all of our readers to show that they love local business by supporting them.”

MP Mrs Baldwin encouraged local residents to support Malvern district’s businesses.

She said: “The Government has taken extraordinary steps to protect businesses and people’s livelihood during this global pandemic and as the economy slowly unlocks it is important we show support for our local employers who will be leading the recovery.

“I’ve been really impressed at the way some businesses have adapted to operate in different ways over the last few months and some have been able to thrive in difficult times.

“As someone who has championed ‘shop local’ initiatives throughout the year, I feel it is important that we support local traders as much as possible so I am delighted to add my backing to this important Malvern Gazette campaign.”

Russell & Co Solicitors in Malvern is among the businesses which has had to adapt due to coronavirus.

Anita Earp, office manager at Russell & Co, said they realised early on that there was a way through lockdown. After the flooding earlier this year the firm had set up a disaster plan so that staff could work remotely, and so that was put into practise to keep operating during lockdown.

“It was good timing as we had the plan we had literally just finalised and could put it in place,” she said.

She added: “We used the furlough scheme. We put two people on furlough, and one of them is back now. Because we were able to get up and running very quickly, we didn’t have to furlough the number of staff that I know a lot of firms have.

“It’s a testament to the staff, everyone really has pulled together to make it work.

The love Local Business campaign is also sponsored by Crowngate Shopping Centre, Visit Worcester and Tom Cook Carpets.

Sales director for the Gazette, Dale Godliman said: “I am delighted that we are running a sustained campaign outlining the importance of using local business, at what is a crucial time for so many SMEs.

“We reach a huge percentage of the local population across our well-established regional brands and, through a combination of combining our loyal print publications, record online audiences and market leading engagement via our social media channels, we are really confident that we can be the marketing partner of choice for local businesses during this crucial period.

“We are really banging the drum for local businesses from all sectors including retail, hospitality and leisure and encouraging our loyal readership to show their support by shopping local.

“Any business which wants to be featured in our campaign should get in touch on 01905 742372 or and we will be more than happy to provide further details.”