Martin Cooper, owner of The Refill Shop of Ikigai in St Ives, on why supporting local businesses is more important than ever this Christmas.

In the first half of 2023, the number of businesses closing increased from the previous year, and according to government statistics, the rate of business insolvencies is at its highest rate since 2009.

This Saturday (December 2) is Small Business Saturday, where people across Cambridgeshire can show their support for small, local businesses by choosing to shop with them over large national companies and supermarkets.

Martin Cooper, owner of The Refill Shop of Ikigai in St Ives, said: "Shopping locally and in small independent businesses has never been more important.

"When big businesses are leaving our high streets in their droves, it's small local businesses that are keeping our towns and cities alive - so supporting them is essential."

A campaign by Totally Locally encourages everyone to spend just £5 in a small independent business this Christmas.

If everyone in Cambridgeshire did this it could bring to £3.5 million into our local economy - maintaining our high streets and the jobs they provide.

Buying local isn't only about keeping the high street full of shops, it's also about keeping the environmental impact of Christmas shopping low by keeping down the miles and reducing packaging too.

Martin added: "We hope, as small businesses, we can offer something a bit different, as well as a more personal service than large supermarkets or online businesses.

"This year, I hope people can think small for their Christmas gift shopping and choose to spend a few pounds in the hundreds of small businesses across the county - and show their support for us all."

Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, that highlights small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities and takes place on Saturday December 2.