May 7, 2021

Success of Leeds’ ‘Support Your Local Indie’ directory and hampers offers hope to independent businesses post-Covid

The Leeds online ‘Support Your Local Indie’ directory, which only launched two weeks ago, now features nearly 900 independent businesses from across the city. Brought to you by the people behind ‘Leeds Indie Food’, the directory is split out by suburb, featuring everything a local resident might need – from independent cafes through to fresh produce and sustainable homewares.

After an incredibly tough year for independent businesses, many of which weren’t eligible for financial support from the government, the directory’s aim is to ensure that independent businesses get the support they need from their neighbours and survive the devastating effects of the pandemic on the local economy.

Alongside the directory, which has been kindly funded by Chapter 81 and designed and built by Hungry Sandwich Club, with further support from Ed Carlisle, Brudenell Social Club, Playful Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club and Duke Studios, Leeds Indie Food has launched a bumper shop of hampers full of locally sourced goods.

One is tailored towards coffee lovers, one towards foodies and the other towards those who enjoy Leeds’ great brewery scene. Hampers can still be pre-ordered until 4th December and will be delivered by 11th December, courtesy of Awesome Distro, making them the perfect feel-good Christmas gift.

The shop will continue to stock products from a variety of indies for the foreseeable as well as selling indie gift cards, operated by Open. Open is working towards signing up as many indies as possible, making it a gift card for all participating indies and supporting the cashless culture adopted of late. Just another great way to encourage more people to shop local.

As well as great products from independent businesses across the city, the hampers will include a free postcard, designed by local artist Hannah Wilson Designs. There will be five designs this time, each featuring one of Leeds’ great indies, including Bundobust, OK Comics, OWT, If Up North and The Reliance. Picked at random for each hamper, the postcards will reinforce the message that shopping local is more important than ever as we start seeing light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel.

Speaking about the project, Simon Fogal of Chapter 81, said: “After the success of a mini directory we produced during the first lockdown, we realised that this could become something even bigger. The online directory is not only really useful, but it is also user friendly, ensuring that the independents that want to be featured can be found really easily. It’s so reassuring to see how many indies are asking to be added to the directory and feedback from local residents using the directory is incredibly positive, proving what a useful tool it has become.

“As it is free to join the directory, it’s a really simple way for indies to raise their profile and get more people shopping with them. Inspired by the #BUYLEEDS organic campaign, that challenges people to think about their shopping habits and give local businesses more support, we are including makers and producers in the directory to enhance the offering. There is some great emerging talent that deserves to be recognised. Our hampers are a limited edition trial, but they are proving so popular that we are considering rolling more out next year, featuring different indies, of course.”

Hanah Wilson, Local Artist, said: “I’m really excited to have my art included in the hampers. As an independent business myself, I know first-hand how difficult this year has been. It’s so important for us to support each other and encourage our Leeds neighbours to shop local and keep independent businesses alive, long after a vaccine comes along. I’m looking forward to creating more artwork for the Leeds Indie Food shop that will shine a light on even more incredible independents in our great city.”

Ed Carlisle, Green Party member and advocate for Leeds, said: “It’s great to be part of such an exciting project within Leeds. I’m passionate about supporting local businesses and injecting cash back into the economy, especially during these troubling times for small businesses.

“When people shop in their local area they get to meet the person or people behind that business. Seeing exactly where your money goes is so rewarding and it could just be a lifeline to businesses who have struggled to keep their heads above water this year.

“This initiative shines a spotlight on what Leeds has to offer and it’s really impressive to see just how many indies we have in and around Leeds. I’m looking forward to discovering more.”

Visit Support Your local Indie here:

Visit Kirkstall Brewery’s website for the LIF Beer Hamper here:

See more of Hannah Wilson’s art here:

Instagram: @Hannahwilson.designs