Traditional town centres and high streets have faced unprecedented challenges in recent times. First, town centres were impacted by the drive towards out-of-town retail parks. Next, the rise of digital shopping impacted, as doorstep delivery hit footfall.

Then came coronavirus, and restrictions that have brought town centres to a juddering halt.

Now, in what retailers call the ‘Golden Quarter’ – the critical run-up to Christmas – they have had to endure a second month-long closure and following strict guidelines are only opening up again this week to desperately try and trade in the run up to what will be a very different Christmas this year.

“We know that visiting retailers will continue to feel very different over the festive season, but it is now more important than ever to support our local businesses and shop local,” said Jade Dyer, Assistant Director of Services at Doncaster Chamber.

“The lead up to Christmas is a crucial time for many small businesses, particularly during such challenging circumstances. We are incredibly proud of the ways in which our local business community has continued to adapt their services in recent months, with many now offering click and collect services. It’s time to give back by shopping locally and supporting your local high street.

“Local businesses are at the heart of the community and it is possible to shop safely during these tier three restrictions and whilst the country faces the continuing pandemic.

“Many people have reconnected with their local high streets, and in lockdown, they have chosen to return to traditional butchers and grocers rather than face supermarket queues. When volunteers mobilised to deliver food to the vulnerable, it was often the local convenience store that provided a base, looking out for their regular customers.

“While 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges, we must firmly believe in the future of our towns and cities, and evidence suggests that many others do too.”