AS we begin the process of reopening our economy, nationally and locally, the same community effort that has seen us through this difficult period will be needed to support businesses in Bury, Ramsbottom and Tottington.

I am aware many of our private sector companies have donated PPE and a wide variety of products that have assisted our key workers in the battle against Covid-19.

Others have supported some of the most vulnerable in our community, like Craig Hindle of AWR Bury and the fantastic catering team at Walshaw Sports Club, which has worked tirelessly providing cooked meals to those in need. Our businesses stood up and offered support to many during this crisis and I believe we should all do our bit to support them as they reopen. It is in all our interests to see them thrive.

Local firms will adapt to the challenges of social distancing but they need our help. If you are able please shop locally, employ local tradespeople and take time to investigate the wide range of local businesses who can cater for our every need before purchasing.

Not everyone will be able to do this for a wide variety of reasons but please support our local high streets, pubs, restaurants, manufacturers, hairdressers and every local business who will each play their part in driving forward our economy.

Phil and Debi Fellone, of Best in Bury, have offered invaluable support to many in the local business community over the last 10 weeks and have now set up a Facebook page, Buy Local Bury. It is a fantastic reference point for all who wish to purchase services, products or produce from local companies.

I would also urge everyone to shop at Bury Market as it gradually reopens. Stallholders supply everything you could possibly need and we should all make the effort to buy from the fantastic variety of stalls available.

Let’s do all we can to ensure this crucial landmark can thrive and each hardworking stallholder can rely on local custom over the coming months.

Bury Council need to be ambitious for the market, and I am pleased a plan to regenerate the site has been proposed. But stallholders need further support from the council to get through this difficult period.

Hats off to you all for your sterling efforts during this pandemic. I know it has been a tough slog for many but we stood tall and, most importantly, we stood together. Thanks to you we will emerge an even stronger, more cohesive community.