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Shop Locally – Build Relationships – Boost Happiness

It is well known that positive social interactions are proven to boost your mood[i], but did you know that shopping locally also affects your happiness?

Whether you pop into the local bakers for your freshly baked bread, nip into the greengrocer for your weekly fruit and veg, or visit the butchers for a joint, new research published[ii] has proven that each of these interactions helps not only to boost the local economy but it goes a long way towards increasing your feeling of happiness and belonging.

Beautiful Fresh Vegetables at Macknade

Happiness is something we could all use more of and with this in mind, the Buy Local South East (BLSE) campaign which won funding from South East Local Enterprise (SELEP) to roll out across Essex, Kent and Sussex, has been set up to support the local food and drink sectors across all three counties. Its organisers are urging people to support Kent businesses not just to help protect the local community and the environment but also to boost happiness.

Floortje Hoette, Chief Executive of Produced in Kent, the trade organisation dedicated to supporting & promoting all types of food, drink, and craft businesses in Kent comments; “A sense of belonging is vital. Strong social networks and neighbourhood relations can impact the quality of life. The launch of ‘Buy Local South East’ builds on the success of Produced in Kent’s Help Kent Buy Local campaign.

Floortje Hoette, Chief Executive of Produced in Kent

“We want to work together with the surrounding regions to create real change in consumer habits. Over the past few months, we’ve seen an enormous increase in local shopping but now we must sustain this change.  For this to happen, it’s got to matter, it’s got to be personal and relevant to every shopper, and what could be more relevant than our own happiness and that of our local community?” Hoette continues.

Growers, producers, retailers and hospitality outlets in the three counties will benefit from access to training, coaching and even one-on-one support. The campaign will encourage and improve the financial health of the three region’s food industries by helping them to build new business relationships and create new relationships with existing and future customers.

The Buy Local South East website is now live and aims to build on the success of the HelpKentBuyLocal website which was launched a week after lockdown and has already seen more than half a million interactions from businesses listing and customers searching for the best way to source food.

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For further information or images please contact Amy Goodier-Porter or Claire Hernandez. Amy@sharprelations.com  or Claire@sharprelations.com

Editor’s Notes

Produced in Kent is a trade organisation that supports and promotes food, drink , and craft businesses in Kent. By providing advice and sales opportunities to Kent’s businesses, it nurtures the rural communities in which they thrive. The success of Produced in Kent’s recent initiative Help Kent Buy Local is behind the Buy Local Southeast campaign rallying Kent, Essex, and East Sussex food and drink businesses during lockdown and the recovery phase following Covid-19. 

Natural Partnerships CIC is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2013 to benefit the local food and drink business community and the residents and visitors to Sussex seeking local produce. Working collaboratively, it manages a range of projects to support local farming and the food and drink sector. https://sussexfoodawards.biz/about/

Rural Community Council of Essex is a registered charity that works to sustain rural communities throughout Essex, helping them take action on issues such as access to services, affordable housing, and the provision of village halls.  It also acts as a voice for rural people on key issues.   

About the South East LEP

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is a genuine partnership for growth between business, government, and education. We put the role of enterprise – as the driving motor of the economy – at the heart of everything we do; and we work in partnership with central government and its key agencies to pursue and attract major investment into the South East to deliver significant economic growth.

One of 38 LEPs established by the government, our role is to forge a partnership that properly understands the economic challenges and opportunities of our area, encourages an environment that delivers prosperity, and to be directly accountable to local people and local businesses. LEPs decide what the priorities should be for investment in roads, buildings, and facilities in the area as part of an integrated approach to growth and infrastructure delivery.

We represent the largest LEP area in England outside London, in terms of population and economic output, and cover an area encompassing the local authority areas of East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend, and Thurrock. Head to southeastlep.com to find out more.


[i] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1948550613502990

[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24769739/

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