Skibbereen residents encouraged to Love Local and support businesses in their community 

Skibbereen residents encouraged to Love Local and support businesses in their community 

Access Credit Union in West Cork is driving support for local businesses with the launch of a discount card to encourage more people to spend local in the run up to Christmas and in to the future. Businesses will also offer personalised virtual shopping for customers who cannot make it to town in a bid beat lockdown. L-R Finola Byrne (Designs Gift and craft store), Cathal O'Donovan (Skibbereen Book shop), Elma Casey, CEO Access Credit Union & James O'Mahony (Framers). Photography by Emma Jervis.

Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce have launched a new initiative, Love Local, designed to ensure members of the community support their local businesses in the coming months.

The campaign is being spearheaded by the Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce in association with Access Credit Union and it is hoped it will usher in a much-needed spend in the local community. 

Many businesses are displaying great creativity at present in a bid to overcome these challenging times. Ideas include making personalised virtual shopping available via WhatsApp and Zoom for customers who are unable to visit the shows due to Level 5 restrictions.

Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce Business Administrator Kate Callanan was delighted with the success of their recent launch. 

“It was well attended. There was a great buzz around the town which helped get the word out there,” she said.

She is confident their initiative will succeed.

 “We have a sister town called Scituate, in Boston, which is twinned with West Cork. They actually did a Love Local campaign earlier this year which proved a huge success and it prompted us to embark on a similar journey. 

"The whole initiative is aimed at promoting the area we live in and for people to really love the local community. It is important they support the local shops, businesses and the economy. It is basically a concerted campaign to show how special a town Skibbereen is.” 

Similar schemes will also be run in both Schull and Bandon, in association with their local Access Credit Union branches. 

Retailers will be offering exclusive discounts and daily deals which are at the discretion of the retailers to Access Credit Union members which their 28,000 membership can duly avail of. 

“The money they spend goes back into the community," Ms Callanan said. "It generates more funds within the local economy which everyone benefits from. It creates and maintains jobs within the community. Everyone gains from shopping locally.”

Ms Callanan is confident local businesses will be supported in the coming weeks as preparations step up for Christmas. 

“The Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce will ensure the town is lit up and looking great," she said. "It is important we promote and drive the message on.

"There is great positivity and everyone is anxious to help one another out."

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