Entry is open to a competition recognising independent retailers for their central role as the lifeblood of our high streets.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland is encouraging shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops competition, run by the British Independent Retailers’ Association.

He said: “Our small shops form the backbone of our local communities, always a kind word and time for a chat with their customers.

“Brilliant shops kindly donate to community events year after year.

“During lockdown, a lot of small shops have stayed open to help look after our community and care for their customers, especially the elderly and more vulnerable.

“I am proud we have so many wonderful small shops locally and want to help them celebrate what they mean to us, so enter the competition.”

All entries are promoted in the online Indie Retail directory. To enter, visit bestsmallshops.co.uk by September 11.