TRADERS and independent shopkeepers in a Southampton community have become the latest to give their backing to the Daily Echo’s bid to get people shopping near where they live.

Businesses in Bitterne Precinct have thrown their weight behind the Daily Echo’s Buy Local, Shop Local campaign, urging Hampshire residents to throw their support behind high street traders to ease the pressure of the recession.

Our campaign was warmly welcomed in the pedestrianised precinct, which boasts dozens of independent businesses from jewellers to greengrocers, clothes shops to butchers.

With the recent addition of a weekly market – fought for by local traders – footfall in the precinct has risen considerably, but traders say more support is needed.

Rod Bennett, chairman of Bitterne Village Traders’ Association, said: “The Echo Buy Local, Shop Local campaign is very important to make people aware of the benefits of shopping locally. Bitterne has a great mix of independent shops offering specialist products you can’t necessarily find elsewhere.

“The weekly market has brought a lot of trade to Bitterne Precinct but local businesses still need support.

Mr Bennett, who owns Card Gallery, added: “It’s an old cliché but it really is a case of use us or lose us.”

Jayne Nooranvary, who runs Mind, Body and Soul salon, added: “The Echo campaign is fantastic.

“As a result we have already seen lots of people dropping by to lend their support, and that’s something we need, especially given the current economic crisis.

“Bitterne Precinct has an eclectic mix of shops, there’s something here for everyone and we welcome people from near and far to come and shop here.”

Mick Kempton, whose butchers Kempton’s of Bitterne has been in the family for generations, said: “I think the Buy Local, Shop Local campaign is an excellent idea.

“We are a local family, we buy from local suppliers and we like to serve the local community.

“We have the specialist knowledge you don’t get elsewhere and you can trust our produce to be the best.”

Tracey Thurman, of clothes shop The Glitz, said: “The campaign is great news for local traders.

“Not everyone wants the same mass-produced stuff that chains offer.

“Independent shops offer a choice you don’t get anywhere else and we need to support them as much as possible.”