23 October 2020
By Mary Bermingham
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 via WhatsApp and Zoom for customers who cannot make it to town in a bid beat lockdown.
Since March of this year local businesses have borne the brunt of the pandemic with closures and uncertainty. Now, with Christmas looming and new stock arriving by the day, locals are being encouraged to switch off their phones and close their laptops to keep their business local and secure the future of their towns. The “Love Local” initiative in conjunction with Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce, and Schull and Bandon Business Associations will see dozens of businesses offer exclusive discounts and daily deals to the more than 28,000 Access Credit members.
Speaking of the initiative, Elma Casey, CEO Access Credit Union said,
“We have proudly supported local businesses for over 50 years. We have seen our members through the best and worst of times, but working together as a community has always gotten us through and we are adamant that we can also weather this storm too with the support of our local people. Since March we have been trying new ways to promote local businesses and groups with a series of videos and supports as a way to help raise people’s spirits and help keep people connected to their communities.”
The mission of our Credit Union is to be there for our members as a dependable and community centric business. However, we are all too aware that our Credit Union and other businesses around us may not be here in the future if we don’t support each other now. Our high streets will look very different without all the beautiful independent family owned stores that make us different. We are faced with serious choices; do business locally or take it online to support a stranger who will do nothing for our local community. Our shops are the lifeblood of our town and without them the future is bleak so please think local, shop local and love local.
Also speaking of the campaign, Sandra Gallagher, Chairperson, Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce said,
“The Love Local campaign was an idea from our friends in our twin town in Scituate in Boston which is similar in many ways to Skibbereen. We all know that to keep local shops open we need to support them. Times have changed and are changing by the day so we all need to shop more consciously. If we don’t the future doesn’t bear thinking about. The people of Skibbereen have weathered many storms by looking out for each other. Our wish this Christmas is that we can remain in business for many Christmases to come. Local people can make our wish come true.”