Shop locally (and support ailing charity)

WHILE council leaders mount a campaign to persuade Huntingdonshire residents to do their Christmas shopping locally, two businesses are urging them to combine that with rescuing the threatened emergency medical charity Magpas.

The award-winning Nail Retreat in St Ives is holding a Christmas raffle for the charity, while Suzanne Tibbetts, 39, who runs a Kleeneze franchise in Hartford, has linked with other independent businesses in the district to create a Magpas hamper filled with local products, showcasing the wealth of goods and services available to the community.

The wider campaign, spearheaded by Huntingdonshire District Council’s economic development team, is aimed at persuading residents that shopping locally can offer more individuality, work out less expensive and help keep our communities vibrant and alive, as well as being an eco-friendly option.

“Shops are more likely to provide food that hasn’t been flown halfway across the world,” a spokesman said.

“They offer a much more personal service than big supermarkets and keep money circulating in the local area so they support other local businesses.

“Market town shops and street markets often offer better value for fresh fruit and vegetables and are more energy-efficient than huge superstores. A diverse range of local shops provides more choice than one big supermarket.

Councillor Ken Churchill, whose executive responsibilities include economic development, added: “Many small shops across the country are struggling to survive in the current economic climate and, although Huntingdonshire is faring better than most of the country, we still need to support these shops to ensure their survival.

Most Read

“The council wants to make sure that the district’s high streets and town centres remain vibrant and are keen to promote the benefits of small shops.”

The Nail Retreat’s Clare Moss said: “Magpas is an incredible charity, so we hope we can help them raise funds by the sale of raffle tickets in our salon. We have donated all the prizes, which include a free hand or foot treatment.

“We all hope we will never need Magpas’s service but the reality is you just never know. We urge all local businesses to do the same and to help raise funds for them. It would be devastating to loose such an amazing charity. They are all true heroes”

Suzanne Tibbetts, pictured, right with Magpas operations director Natalie Norman, added: “Christmas used to be a booming time for small businesses, but in recent years they have been increasingly out-priced and overwhelmed by the dominance of the major supermarkets and large retail chains.

“This year I want to highlight the fantastic independent traders who serve the Huntingdon community and thought that creating a hamper of locally-sourced goods was a fantastic way to showcase what they have to offer.”

Debbie Florence, fundraising co-ordinator at Magpas, said: “The hamper is a great idea and we’ll be using it as a raffle prize to help our fundraising efforts.”

INFORMATION: to buy a raffle ticket visit The Nail Retreat at 4 Manor Mews, St Ives, or send a donation through or can send a cheque made out to Magpas to the charity at 105 Needingworth Road, St Ives PE27 5WF.