A CAMPAIGN to encourage people in Dumbarton and the Vale to support local business by ‘thinking local first’ was launched on Monday.

The Loves Local campaign is a joint initiative by West Dunbartonshire Council, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and Business Gateway to support local business owners who provided vital services throughout lockdown.

Business owners have been offered a variety of marketing materials and support to help encourage increased visitors.

One local firm backing the campaign is Lomond Fishmongers in Alexandria.

David McCallum, who runs the shop with wife Suzanne, said: “This shop has actually been a fishmonger for more than 40 years, so it’s at the heart of this community.

“Now restrictions are easing, we are really glad to see people out and about a bit more and back in the shop.

“Lockdown has increased our customer base and we are seeing more young customers, many are grandchildren of people who might be shielding, but others are trying fish out, or maybe spending more time cooking.

“I really hope that continues, as local businesses can provide a lot more than just products for the community.”

Sian Wilkie from Dumbarton and the Vale optician and jeweller Wilkie and Rider said: “Promoting local businesses and local custom is vitally important to us, because without local support our business simply wouldn’t survive.

“Covid-19 has brought major changes to our everyday lives, and for many has resulted in us being at home for long periods. Having local businesses on our doorstep that provide vital services has never been more important.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Damon Scott added: “The Chamber has worked really hard to help secure the funding and develop the campaign to support our local economy and town centres.

“We need our communities to continue to get behind our local businesses to help them get back on their feet.

“The success of the campaign depends on as many local people, businesses and groups coming together to support it by getting involved.”

Find out more at dumbartonloveslocal.co.uk and valeloveslocal.co.uk.