I am appealing to local communities to come out in support of independent retailers and local businesses on Small Business Saturday on 5th December. There has never been a more critical time to support small business after the unprecedented difficulties which they have faced during 2020. Amongst the enterprises I will visit on Saturday is Rugged Outdoors Activity Centre in Helmsley which gives families the opportunity to try out adventure activities such as axe throwing, shelter building and bush craft skills.
This is a hugely important time for small businesses as we emerge from a national lockdown and with the run up to Christmas, traditionally a busy period for businesses. The Government has offered unprecedented support for small businesses throughout the pandemic but of course it’s not the same as being open and welcoming customers. I want to encourage everyone to get out over the next few weeks to take advantage of the fantastic array of goods and services in our local shops and other businesses to do their Christmas shopping. These small retailers are the heartbeat of rural communities and we should support them.
Craig Buttery, who owns the Rugged Outdoors Activity Centre, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our local MP Kevin Hollinrake at our little bit of woodland on Small Business Saturday so that we can show him around and give him an idea of the activities we provide at Rugged Outdoors for families across Thirsk and Malton and further afield.”
Over 800 business have already registered on North Yorkshire County Council’s Buy Local scheme which allows small businesses to place classified adverts online for free. It enabled them to specify what they were able to offer during the coronavirus restrictions, such as click and collect and it allows them to update their profile on the site at any time.
In addition to the grant support businesses received during the first lockdown any that were forced to close in November have been eligible for grants of up to £3,000 a month under the Local Restrictions Support and up to £2,100 a month for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors who are allowed to open but have been adversely affected by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. Local Authorities across Thirsk and Malton have also been funded to support businesses more generally, including awarding discretionary grants. Many businesses have been given a rates holiday until early April 2021, access to the Job Retention Scheme and benefitted from a cut in VAT from 20% to 5% for hospitality businesses.