We’ve seen some terrific examples of community spirit in recent months and a real sense of coming together in the face of adversity but, as we start to move through the recovery phase, the vital question we face is how do we re-fire our regional economy?
The Chamber’s a firm believer that it's always been important that we get behind our businesses in the North East, but never has it been more important than it is right now to help protect jobs and put cash back into the regional economy.
There’s lots of stimulus packages and technical guidance available to help firms understand how to reopen but if people don’t want to go places and buy things there is a real danger that many of our local businesses simply won’t recover.
We need to try to rebuild consumer confidence and demand, which is the only thing that will get our economy moving again and a strong regional economy is not just important for business owners, it’s vital for all of us living here.
North East Now.scot seeks to use the power of the collective and make it easy for everyone to play a part, whether that’s big or small.
It provides information on which local products are available in shops and supermarkets, making it easy for people to choose North-east brands in their weekly shop. It also includes sections on local businesses and those promoting local provenance operating across the food and drink, health and wellbeing, lifestyle and fashion and beauty sectors.
The site links to a wide range of directories, news articles, blogs and inspirational stories from across the area, all encouraging people to think about all sorts of ways that they can support local.
It’s been driven by and funded by the Chamber but you won’t see our branding on it, this isn’t about profile raising for us and its not something that is only available to our members. It’s part of our response to stimulating the economy and is very much for everyone.
What we have been able to do is bring some pretty heavyweight partners round the table to help make it happen. So its backed by creative agency Hampton, the Press & Journal, the Evening Express, Society and Original 106, as well as Visit Aberdeenshire, and that’s allowed us to reach a really wide audience and get that ‘support local’ message out in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
We were very conscious of the fact that there’s lots of small cooperatives and similar initiatives like Abz.life, Stunning Stonehaven, or posts from local bloggers popping up in communities all over Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire with the same sort of philosophy. We in no way wanted to complete with them or drown them out. What we wanted to do was find a way to help amplify their voices, give them a platform to engage, promote and talk about what they’re doing to a much wider audience - while at the same time making it easy for North-east residents to know what’s out there and how they can help.
North East Now is the gateway – if folk want to know anything about buying local or visiting local rather than making it hard for them to find information because its spread out in different pockets across the web, or in some cases you don’t find it because you don’t know to look for it – what we hope we’ve done is made it easy for people to go one central place, so North East Now looks to pull people in and then push them back out in the relevant direction so they can find what they are looking for.
So – our plea is for everyone to get involved. If you are a business based in the North-east of Scotland, would you like us to spread the message that you are open for business?
Or if are you a local community initiative, action group or blogger seeking to promote what’s happening in your area - we can help amplify your voice.
Get in touch by visiting North East Now