THE Daily Echo today launches a campaign urging Hamp-shire shoppers to throw their support behind their local high street traders.

Our Buy Local, Shop Local campaign aims to encourage shoppers to ease the pressure of the recession on our traders and use local shops.

Everyone knows times are tight – and we want shoppers to boost the local economy by spending money in the high streets.

Whether it’s buying meat from your local butcher, fruit and vegetables from the high street greengrocer or having a coffee in your neighbourhood café, the campaign is all about spending money locally.

To launch our campaign, we hit the streets of Hampshire yesterday where it received a resounding thumbs up from shoppers and traders alike, with many independent shops displaying our campaign posters in their windows.

Holt and Haskell sports shop in Shirley High Street was one of the first to back the campaign.

Manager Jody Brown said: “The Buy Local, Shop Local campaign is a great idea.

“It is important to the area and the local economy that people shop locally.

“Shirley is not a big place and without all the little shops it would die.

“You get a much better customer service, the knowledge and expertise of the staff is much higher and the range is often much more because you get specialist shops.”

Another keen backer of the campaign was Peter Smith, owner of The Moby Dick fish and chips takeaway and restaurant in Church Street, Shirley.

Peter, 51, said: “I fully support the Echo’s campaign.

“We need to do all we can to get people back on to the high street to do their shopping otherwise everything will disappear.

“It’s not so bad for me because to do fish and chips properly you have to have all the right equipment, but I feel sorry for the other independent traders.

“People buy the rubbish supermarkets sell just because it’s easy but if they looked in the independent stores they would find the same products for a fraction of the cost.”

Shoppers also joined in support of the campaign.

Buying her meat from local butcher John Wildman and Sons in Shirley, Tia Goldsworthy said: “I like the experience of shopping at independent stores, it is sociable and it is a more friendly way of shopping.

“You can see exactly what you are getting and you even see them chop up the meat in front of your eyes.”

The 66-year-old, of Medina Road, Shirley, added: “Once I get my meat from here I pop over to Jim Rolf and get my groceries.

“I think everyone should back the campaign, it would be such a shame to lose the independent shops.”

Carol Baddams, 66, of Dunkirk Road, Lordswood, added: “You get a much better service, a better quality of meat and you can see first hand what you’re buying.

“I have been using this butchers for a very long time and I’ve never had a problem, nothing’s too much trouble.”

Captain Jimmy Chestnutt, Director General of the Southampton and Fareham Chamber of Commerce, pledged his support to the Daily Echo’s campaign.

He said: “Independent service providers, newsagents, grocers, convenience or specialist shops are often family-run businesses and significantly contribute to the community identity. They provide local employment as well as being a local amenity.

“We hope that this idea will encourage people to support those that contribute to the local and regional economy.”

Do you buy local, shop local?

If so, tell us what you like about shopping locally.

Maybe you prefer shopping in big chains? Ring the newsdesk on 023 8042 4501.