Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday, a grassroots campaign that highlights small business success and encourages customers to support small businesses in our communities.
This has become a regular event taking place on the first Saturday of December each year.
Of course this is the perfect time to highlight just how many Christmas presents can be bought from our local independent shops.
Here in Ilkeston we have an ever increasing number of independent retailers so I am sure we can keep our Christmas shopping local and support them.
For me, each year Christmas starts when the lights are switched on in both Long Eaton and Ilkeston.
Here in Ilkeston it was lovely to enjoy a coffee and a mince pie in the Canteloupe Centre which is still raising money to replace its roof. Hearing carols being sung in St Mary’s Church also helped me feel quite festive.
Also at this time of year there are many Christmas fairs, all raising money for community groups and charities and once again these are ideal places to buy our Christmas presents.
So often we can buy those individual and unique craft gifts which are very different to what we can get in the large stores.
Many charities play a huge role at this time of year, supporting those most in need. As last year, a couple of weeks ago I held an Erewash Volunteering Day when, along with my staff, we used a day’s holiday to help different voluntary groups across the constituency including environmental, family support and mental health support charities and a kids’ club.
I have talked about this in Parliament so I am now pleased that the government has taken up the idea and has nominated December 16 as Local Charities Day to celebrate small, local charities and community groups across the country.
Leading up to the day there is £250,000 to match fund Localgiving’s fundraising campaigns to incentivise giving to local charities and community groups.
This includes a #GiveMe5 campaign on Local Charities Day and as many charities as possible should take part.
Any local charity who would like further information should contact my office.
I can be contacted by post at Unit 2, The Old Co-Op, South Street, Ilkeston DE7 5SG, by email at email@example.com or ‘phone on 0115 930 0521.
Residents are also welcome to pop into my community office at the above address.
Surgery appointments can also be made by contacting my office – I hold help and advice surgeries on a Friday or Saturday on a regular basis.