RESIDENTS are being urged to support the local economy and businesses on their doorstep following the easing of coronavirus lockdown rules.

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison has issued the appeal to people to spend locally and has been putting her money where her mouth is by visiting the towns in her constituency.

At the weekend she visited high street shops and businesses in Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor and Barnard Castle to discuss what Government support they have had and need from her in Parliament. She will be in Shildon this week.

She said, after a long three months of limited trade, as pubs, restaurants and some leisure and tourist attractions are able to reopen if they can do so safely and within Covid Secure guidelines, that they are supported.

She said: “It is more important now than ever that we support our tourism sector and the local economy across our constituency.

“It has been a tough few months for businesses and attractions and whilst the Government has provided unprecedented support, we must do all we can to support them as we ease out of lockdown.

“Our high streets and local businesses have so much to offer.

“This weekend I managed to pick up a few upcoming birthday presents, some new decorations for my house, and some brilliant produce from our local butchers and cake makers.

The Northern Echo:

“It was great to get the chance to speak to local business owners and hear their positive thoughts on the various Government’s schemes, including the furlough scheme, that have helped many maintain their income.

“It was also great to hear first-hand about their concerns and what I can do to help them as we begin to move through this crisis.”

The Northern Echo:

Ms Davison started her tour by grabbing coffee at the newly opened Fox’s Tale, before popping into Nip and Tuck, Just like Grandma’s Shop, Windrow Sports, Tinkers Treasures, Labyrinth, The Auckland Cupcake Co and The Reading Rooms in Bishop Auckland.

The Northern Echo:

She then called at Hays Travels, Charles Dickens, Milligans, Nightingale’s Niceties, Occasions and The Sweet Shop in Spennymoor and The Sandra Parker Studio, Market Cross Jewellers, Book Aid, Oliviers, Macfarlane’s Butchers and Katie’s Traditional Fish and Chips, in Barnard Castle, where she plans to return to soon. She will also be visiting Shildon shops later this week.

In Barnard Castle, marketing experts Nick Danks and Andrew Bartlett, who run Save the High Street Ltd, have teamed up with the Marking Barney Brighter Together group to help independent businesses 'get open and stay open'.

The Big Barney Bounce Back initiative will see businesses offered free advice and support and a publicity campaign.

Mr Danks said: “We’re both North East lads. Andrew went to school in Barnard Castle and I’m just up the road in Durham. We are very proud of where we are from and proud of the North East. We feel like the cities get more support and we want to put our arms around the towns. It is a passion for us and we are in this for the long term."