Interview with Archie Fitzherbert, founder of local initiative Voucher Local (www.voucherlocal.org).

1

What is Voucher Local?
Voucher Local is a website and community platform to make life easier for those who want to discover and support independent businesses around Wandsworth and Clapham. Businesses can promote what they are doing, along with special offers, to local people. We hope this will encourage people to consciously change their spending habits from chain stores to small independents, which will make a real difference to the community.

What inspired you to set up Voucher Local?
After I graduated from university in Bristol, I came back home to Wandsworth and was shocked to see how much the high streets here have changed. It was depressing to see many family-owned, quirky and independent shops and eateries have disappeared from our high streets. It’s like the area is losing its personality. I remember going out when I was young and chatting to the friendly traders and shopkeepers. Our local butcher even taught me how to swim! Bristol has kept that feeling of individuality and community and I thought, that’s what I want to keep here too.

How does it work?
Local businesses, anything from restaurants to dog groomers, gyms to fashion retailers can put details of what they are doing on our website and include an offer to encourage new customers to visit them.  For the customer, when you find an offer that appeals to you, you enter your email address and receive a discount code direct to your phone or present one of our VL cards. These cards are free and can be ordered via the website. It couldn’t be easier!

Why is it important to local people?
If we don’t start supporting our local independent traders they will disappear. This year is more important than ever. Local SMEs are facing a ‘perfect storm’ in April with the introduction of the new business rates. This is on top of the recent rise in the minimum wage, the low pound, reduction in shop/restaurant sites due to redevelopment and Internet shopping. SW London, with its high property prices, will be taking one of the biggest hits in the country.

We can all play out part. If every household in Wandsworth changed their shopping habits from chain stores to local independent businesses by only £10/week that would be an extra £1,305,000 back into the local economy each week; creating new jobs and helping keep our high streets vibrant and full of character. As we say ‘Love it don’t lose it!’

2


 

logo

www.voucherlocal.org


 

 

x close

Main Menu

Editoral and Features