OUR BID to get Hampshire residents to support their local shops and producers is fast gathering pace.

Traders in one Hampshire town have given a resounding thumbs up to the Daily Echo’s new Buy Local, Shop Local campaign.

Shopkeepers, restaurants bosses and small business owners in Totton have pledged to do all they can to promote the importance of the small shop.

Daily Echo posters are now appearing in shop windows across the community.

Few people know more about the qualities a small shop can bring than Goldsmiths Newsagent manager Ken Ball, in Rumbridge Road, who has been running the store for more than 45 years.

He said: “If people don’t start supporting and using their local shops they are going to lose them and that would be a terrible for small communities.

“For some we might just be a convenient place to pop in when they need a few bits and pieces but for others we might be the only people they get to talk to all week.

“This shop was established in 1929 – I think that says something.”

Another who threw his weight behind the campaign was Ken’s shop neighbour and owner of Rubber Stamp Alan Paxton. He said local shops were the lifeblood of the community.

Alan added: “If the small shops die out community spirit will go too and its important people use them so they have a chance of surviving.”

With the credit crunch and economic downturn on everyone’s lips, it is vital for shoppers to dig deep and spend their hard-earned cash in high street shops.

This could mean buying your apples from the village grocer or picking up fresh bacon from the nearby butcher – the campaign is about spending money locally.

Owner of Rowland newsagent, Harendra Patel, also backed the campaign saying he hoped the Daily Echo would bring people through his doors.

He said: “The campaign is a great idea. Without the support of the public local shops will close – it is as simple as that.”

Carol Guy, Tightlanes Angling Centre owner, said: “I definitely back this campaign and hope people listen to it because at the moment people seem to be switching to the Internet and it is killing the shops.”