Royston Independents On Parade by Clive Porter…

Royston Independents On Parade by Clive Porter…

Independent outlets contribute to around 65%  of all the retail units in the Nation and are at the heart of our local communities, offering great choice and a more personalised customer service. Of late these heroic establishments have been engulfed by a huge shrinkage of town centre footfall, mainly due to the lengthy Pandemic period and currently the overly sad contraction of the UK economy. Thus, they desperately need all the help that is necessary to keep them buoyant. My parents were shopkeepers, and I was involved in a small chain of retail stores in the locality for some years, so what I am saying comes from the heart.

Local newspapers also require public support. They are the eyes and ears of all that is happening in the Nation’s localities, and we can’t allow them to disappear from our regions either, so this is why I have seized upon an initiative to make locals aware of just how vulnerable these two very valuable assets are, and how much poorer our society would be without them.

A valuable asset, this time actually to the retail sector, is the Local Government Business Improvement District Grant, (BID), aimed at lifting the profile of town centres. Royston First, the brand name for this marque in Royston was established in 2009 in an attempt to attract more retailers, and tourism, whilst improving the progress of the town centre and industrial area.

Independents Week is a National not for profit making campaign that is celebrated annually to make more of the public aware of the necessity to put independent outlets as the public’s first choice when shopping, and to morally support and promote businesses of this nature.

Earlier this month representatives from the Town Council, Royston First, and other interested parties met at the Council’s offices for a tour around the town to celebrate just this occasion. The entourage, headed by the Town Crier, Graham Pfaff announcing its presence, Paul Brown, Bid Manager, Royston Mayor, Cllr Lisa Adams, Cllr John Revs, Deputy Mayor, and Cllr Rob Inwood made its way through the streets of the town centre calling in at the many diverse independent retailers, a number of which were fledgling businesses, the newest one, a bookshop having only opened just two weeks prior. They were welcomed in at each stop off for photographs.

Paul Bowes, owner of Bowes Books stated, “I am delighted to play a small new role in helping highlight the way that independents make a town special, indeed unique!”

Numerous others not only welcomed the visit but also empathised the importance of this feature on the town.

Article and photographs by Clive Porter
To read more about Royston First visit: and for more photos from the week visit: