New scheme helps customers come to rescue of favourite local cafes, stores and pubs

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It’s predicted that as many as a million local businesses may not survive a four-week-long coronavirus lockdown. As the isolation period stretches onwards, many formerly profitable restaurants, shops and other local businesses fear they may never re-open their doors.

But a new local business voucher scheme could come to the rescue of many popular local stores and cafes. Saving Local enables loyal customers who are keen to support their favourite local businesses to buy vouchers for products and meals now, for later use when the lockdown period finally ends.

The scheme is the brainchild of the well-known small business entrepreneur Charles Astwood, founder of leading Noughties dining website London-Eating, which pioneered user reviews by ordinary customers. Charles has returned to the fray to help save local restaurants and stores by launching the new voucher-based scheme. Saving Local vouchers enable customers to support the local businesses they love by buying a voucher now, to use when the lockdown ends.

Says Astwood: “The banks’ Covid-19 response seems to be slow in coming to the rescue of many much-loved businesses, while overheads continue to mount and expensive stock stands unwanted. But while the Government and lenders may be entangled in bureaucracy, it’s businesses’ own customers who can come to the rescue. For many customers, the Saving Local voucher scheme is both a chance to buy themselves a treat to look forward to when the lockdown ends and, at the same time, it’s a purchase that could help ensure their favourite local shop, pub or café remains in business for the long term.

“I’ve been really worried that several of my own favourite local business will never reopen and this independent, entirely not-for profit site seemed the best solution. The only deduction is the credit card fee; 100% of the voucher price goes to the venue.’

‘The scheme is open now for businesses to join for free. They can register online at https://www.savinglocal.com/register-business/. Customers keen to ensure their favourite local firms continue to serve them when the crisis has passed can simply send details to suggestions@savinglocal.com and we will contact them to sign them onboard.”

For full details of the new scheme and how to get local businesses registered, see: https://www.savinglocal.com/