Eastbourne’s annual Small Business Saturday event

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Small Business Saturday took place earlier this month.

The annual grassroots event encourages people to use local shops and services, especially in the run up to Christmas, and has grown in popularity with an estimated £750 million spent on the day last year.

A team of Conservatives, including former Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell and councillors Tony Freebody and Penny di Cara, was out from first light to the close of play, criss-crossing the constituency to support retailers.

The well-known Brains Butchers at The Triangle in Willingdon and the new coffee shop and deli Flamingo in Beatty Road, Sovereign, were just a few of the stops.

Caroline Ansell said, “These local entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy and an important heartbeat in the communities they serve.

“Unlike on the internet, local shoppers receive a friendly face and the best service in Eastbourne and it was a pleasure to support the day and meet business owners to hear their ambitions and concerns.

“My favourite find had to be the gin baubles in Artisvin in Meads Street.”

Tony added,“In the recent Budget, a substantial cut in business rates for small businesses and a new fund to help local high streets were announced and these have been warmly welcomed in Eastbourne.

“We have a very healthy independent shop sector and we want to keep it that way.

“But small businesses are under threat from online sales and people really do need to shop locally, if they want a vibrant retail environment in the town and surrounding area.”

The annual event also encourages big businesses to get involved and help the cause.

Visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com to find out more.