Whether you pop into the local bakers for your freshly baked bread, nip into the greengrocer for your weekly fruit and veg, or visit the butchers for a joint, new research published has proven that each of these interactions helps not only to boost the local economy but it goes a long way towards increasing your feeling of happiness and belonging.
Happiness is something we could all use more of and with this in mind, the Buy Local South East (BLSE) campaign which won funding from South East Local Enterprise (SELEP) to roll out across Essex, Kent and Sussex, has been set up to support the local food and drink sectors across all three counties. Its organisers are urging people to support Kent businesses not just to help protect the local community and the environment but also to boost happiness.
Floortje Hoette, Chief Executive of Produced in Kent, the trade organisation dedicated to supporting & promoting all types of food, drink, and craft businesses in Kent comments; “A sense of belonging is vital. Strong social networks and neighbourhood relations can impact the quality of life. The launch of ‘Buy Local South East’ builds on the success of Produced in Kent’s Help Kent Buy Local campaign.
“We want to work together with the surrounding regions to create real change in consumer habits. Over the past few months, we’ve seen an enormous increase in local shopping but now we must sustain this change. For this to happen, it’s got to matter, it’s got to be personal and relevant to every shopper, and what could be more relevant than our own happiness and that of our local community?” Hoette continues.
Growers, producers, retailers and hospitality outlets in the three counties will benefit from access to training, coaching and even one-on-one support. The campaign will encourage and improve the financial health of the three region’s food industries by helping them to build new business relationships and create new relationships with existing and future customers.
The Buy Local South East website is now live and aims to build on the success of the HelpKentBuyLocal website which was launched a week after lockdown and has already seen more than half a million interactions from businesses listing and customers searching for the best way to source food.