How to shop locally, stay safe and come together as a community during lockdown.

Stevenage Mayor Cllr Jim Brown shares what you can do to help support local businesses.

Q: Why is it important to support local businesses during Covid-19?

A: Local shops are a vital part of our community – they support us socially, provide essential services and are the beating heart of the cultural life of our town. Local businesses make up over 90pc of the UK’s private business sector – we will need our local shops and high streets once the pandemic is over.

The Comet: Stevenage Mayor and Cycling UK's Jim Brown on an evening rideStevenage Mayor and Cycling UK's Jim Brown on an evening ride (Image: Archant)

Q: How does supporting local business help the economy?

A: It keeps the money in our local economy, to be invested in our town’s growth and development.

Local businesses provide a significant number of jobs and services for residents. By reducing the need to travel long distances for work, products and services, we can help reduce our carbon footprint. We are invested in supporting local businesses as part of our policy to address the climate emergency.

The Comet: Shops at the Indoor Market are offering online and click and collect servicesShops at the Indoor Market are offering online and click and collect services (Image: Archant)

Q: How can I support local businesses during lockdown?

A: When you need to go out for essentials, use locally-owned shops nearby instead of visiting large retailers.

Many local businesses are now offering online or click and collect services that are easy and safe to use. Purchasing products locally online, instead of using a large national retailer, could be the difference between an independent business surviving, instead of closing.

Q: What local shops can I buy from online?

A: Several shops in the town centre, Old Town and at the indoor market, such as Portside Soap Company, Natalie’s Home Fragrances and others, offer an online delivery service. Use this to buy your loved one a beautiful, unique gift for valentine’s day or their birthday.

Q: Are local takeaways and restaurants still open for delivery?

A: Stevenage is host to an array of cuisines that you can sample at home - the Old Town has something for every tastebud. You can pay online and book a time for delivery or collection.

After your meal, why not leave a good online review, to show your love and support?

Q: What businesses are open for click and collect?

A: I recently helped to launch a new bakery at the indoor market that has continued to provide its sumptuous baked goods to locals throughout this lockdown. More businesses on the Old Town high street and at the indoor market are offering click and collect.

You'll be assigned a time to collect your product – reducing contact and keeping to social distancing.

The Comet: List of shops open in Stevenage during lockdownList of shops open in Stevenage during lockdown (Image: Archant)

Q: What shops can I visit during lockdown?

A: has a full list of essential stores that are open.

This includes all food retailers, off-licences, pharmacies, mobility support shops, building merchants and suppliers, garden centres, vets, banks and building societies, medical services, vehicle repair shops, funeral directors, post offices and launderettes.

We’ve undertaken steps to help keep people safe while out and about. Stevenage Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Wardens are also on hand to help.

Q: What advice do you have to help residents cope during this lockdown?

A: Things like eating right and getting a good night’s sleep can help maintain healthy wellbeing.

Cycling UK has provided routes for people to follow throughout the town, and my running club (Fairlands Valley Spartans) are running online training sessions. Take a walk through one of our many beautiful parks and get some fresh air – caring for your physical health can help ease tension and reduce anxiety.

Connect with others – sharing your experiences digitally or catching up with loved ones over Facetime or Zoom.

When you leave home, stay safe, follow all government guidelines and most importantly, be kind and supportive to one another. Now more than ever, we need to pull together as a community.

Visit or check out their FAQs page for more information on how you can support your local businesses.

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