Choosing to shop locally means you will get a more personal, sociable service – Hadleigh councillor

Hadleigh Christmas lights switch-on. The honours were performed by Peppa Pig

Hadleigh Christmas lights switch-on. The honours were performed by Peppa Pig - Credit:

Shopping locally isn’t just a functional activity – there’s a strong social side to it as well.

Jane Haylock, Hadleigh town councillor and owner of The Idler book shop, said one of the great things about patronising independent, high street shops is the friendly advice you get.

“We can give people advice on what they should be buying.

“It is that extra bit of personal service that you don’t get elsewhere.

“So many people live on their own these days. They don’t see anyone to talk to so the only people they see to talk to are people in the shops and you couldn’t do that in bigger stores.

“It is the social side of it that makes it much better than shopping in a large store and it keeps the town alive.”

Mrs Haylock also moved to dispel the myth that shopping locally will cost you more than buying at large, national superstores or chains.

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“You do get better quality (with independent shops),” she said. “There seems to be this thing that if you shop locally it is always more expensive.

“If you just want cheap now that is your choice but it isn’t always cheaper in the long run.

“It isn’t always cheaper online and if people do not use their shops they will lose them.

“Last year I did all my Christmas shopping for food in about 20 minutes.

“It was all so quick. You don’t have to get in the car and park and go round the shop and come back again.”

Independent shops can also be the place to pick up that hard-to-find gift.

Mrs Haylock added: “The big places like will stock what they know they can sell whereas we can go out of our way to find things for people.”