alston local shops campaign

Last weekend Rory helped launch a new Alston initiative with Sustainable Alston Moor to promote independent retail in the market town: Alston Moor SOS – Save our Shops and Services. The town’s campaign will encourage local residents to do more of their shopping in the town, which boasts restaurants, cafes, pubs, takeaways, craft and antique shops, a Post Office, garages, plant nurseries, banks and a host of other independent shops and services. Alston has a tradition of co-operative and social enterprises, such as the Moody Baker, the community-run gym Alston Moor Fitness Centre, and arguably Cumbria’s best-known community broadband initiative, Cybermoor.

After his opening speech, on Friday January 14th, Rory met with residents and walked about the town visiting local shops. He said: “I am really excited to be here today. Sustainable Alston Moor and the work it does is such an important model for so many other parts of Cumbria, because of the very similar challenges being faced all over the constituency, from Wigton, to Appleby, to Kirkby Stephen and of course Penrith. There are so many good reasons to shop local, and we need to make sure that we support our shops in every way. We can all see the patterns: the arrival of huge supermarkets, and the detrimental effect of these big monopoly retailers on small producers and on our towns. We have got to do all we can to encourage shoppers to buy local. I hope that Alston SOS can be replicated across the constituency, and wish it a very successful year.”

Bronwen Lewis of Sustainable Alston Moor said: “The campaign was launched in Alston marketplace by Penrith and the Border MP, Rory Stewart. It was important to us to have his support, and to see his evident interest in our community. Rural communities like Alston Moor demonstrate high levels of social enterprise and voluntary community involvement, but we also face very serious challenges in the areas of employment, housing and transport. We need our MP to fight our corner in order to help remote rural communities have a sustainable future!“

Sustainable Alston Moor was set up in 2008 to help Alston Moor make the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable and ethical future. It is now a charitable company limited by guarantee, and hosts public events, runs projects on alternative energy, local food, transport and education, and has over 200 local supporters.

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