Upper Hunter Shire Council has launched a major initiative to support local businesses across our Shire with 'We LIVE Here - We SPEND Here' which includes a 'buy local' shopping website www.welivehereupperhunter.com.au
There is also a new Facebook page - We LIVE Here Upper Hunter Business Group - where business owners can communicate with, and get support from, other local businesses and Council's Business Services staff.
Mayor Wayne Bedggood said the initiative was an extension of the 'We Live Here' buy local campaign.
"Most people in the Shire are now familiar with the We LIVE Here card, the most successful buy local gift cards in NSW with over $500,000 loaded onto the cards since the program started in December 2018. This promotes it further with the slogan 'We LIVE Here - We SPEND Here'," he said.
"The 'We LIVE Here Upper Hunter' web site is an ambitious project that Council were already talking to local businesses about, to gauge interest. The restrictions around COVID-19 made it urgent that we help businesses open their e-doors to online customers in and outside the shire," Cr Bedggood said.
"There is a need for contact-free shopping opportunities to increase sales and keep small businesses afloat. Not only will the virtual shopping precinct increase the profile of businesses but also provide goods to our communities without the need for people to leave their homes. Through the website it's easy to see who offers click and collect, home delivery or postage of goods and services."
A local radio advertising campaign started this week to ensure the 'buy local' message is delivered.
"At the end of this campaign we hope that every resident explores local purchases before heading out of town or buying online from businesses outside of our Shire," Cr Bedggood said.
"By keeping our local economy strong we attract business opportunities to our towns and ensure jobs for our kids. Our businesses have suffered through three years of drought, and now hit with a pandemic. At no time has the 'buy local' message been more important."
Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, commended Council on its efforts to support and grow local business in the region.
"Whether it's your local café, butcher or giftshop - right now every shop, on every corner, in every street across the Upper Hunter needs your business," Mr Joyce said.
"Drought, bushfire and now Coronavirus have put a serious dent in local trade but with our help and support, they will recover. This council-led initiative, which is backed by state and federal government funding, will go a long way to achieving that."
This initiative is funded with $100,000 from the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund jointly funded under the Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Visit the website at www.welivehereupperhunter.com.au and start shopping. Local businesses who haven't listed can do so easily with the tab at the top right hand side of the screen. Anyone needing support can contact Council's Business Services Team on 6540 1100.