Backing Digbeth

It’s mid-December, and with only ten days left before Christmas, we’re guessing that you’re in full-on shopping mode by now. But while you are considering what to buy for your loved ones to put under the tree, please don’t forget about the excellent range of independent retailers and services we have right here in the Digbeth locality.

Midge, who sometimes writes for Digbeth is Good, recently posted this picture taken in Yew Tree, which reminded me how fragile our local shops can be. Mary Portas and her campaign to save Britain’s High Streets can seem futile against the might of big businesses, but it can be done. This said, Mary can’t succeed on a television show alone; we, the public, need to get behind our local retailers where it matters, by filling their tills with our money, and thereby injecting funds back into our local economies.

Birmingham City Council launched Backing Birmingham to promote local independent businesses, by recognising that ‘people make places’. Considering the high percentage of independent businesses and social enterprises in our area, it is worrying that Digbeth does not feature in the scheme at all. Should we be encouraging our shopkeepers to join the initiative? Or should we use Backing Birmingham as a blueprint for a separate scheme for Digbeth?

Similar initiatives have been successful in areas of the country that share the same feel as Digbeth: the Bristol Pound followed the lead of another currency-based promotion in Brixton. Although these geographies are much larger than Digbeth, could the same idea work here?

It was reported that the Bristol Pound seemed more of a tourist attraction than a business-boosting strategy, but attracting tourism can’t be that bad in the current economy…

Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: Digbeth Residents Association will continue to support our local businesses, recognising that change can only happen by working in partnership with these cornerstones of our community. All we ask is that our members and readers do the same: please back Digbeth!

Pamela Pinski

Digbeth and Proud

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