Supporting Dreams


When you support a small business, you are supporting someone’s dream, says Wanstead resident Paul Canal, who urges us all to enjoy the High Street and shop local this Christmas

The sight of our bustling High Street thronged with Wansteadians, their friends and visitors gladdens the heart and quickens the pulse. Our High Street is the heart of our community, with an eclectic mix of independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants that is the envy of our neighbours.

Our local businesses are the backbone of our community in Wanstead, both culturally and economically. The knowledge, expertise, products, services and sense of camaraderie we get from our local independents is something we cannot mimic elsewhere. Put simply, local is our past, present and future.

Our local entrepreneurs emerged from Covid bruised but defiant, and were then hit by the Ukraine tsunami with rocketing fuel costs and tighter domestic budgets. Many are still paying back Covid loans or dipped deep into personal savings. They need our help to survive and thrive. Ghost towns happen when we don’t shop locally. It is time for us all to step up and spend more of our hard-earned cash in our local shops.

This Christmas, Britons will spend over £80bn. Here in Wanstead, the average family will spend over £2,000. Collectively, we will spend over £26m. Imagine the impact if we all pledged to spend a proportion of that here in Wanstead with our local independents.

When you support a small business, you are supporting someone’s dream. 

Environmental sustainability is another key advantage of shopping locally. Our local independents invariably have a smaller carbon footprint compared to larger chains and e-commerce giants. 

That is why I am challenging every reader of the Wanstead Village Directory to spend more locally. Buy your wine from Daygustation, your fish and smoked salmon from Wanstead Fish, the best panettone from More Italy. Get your cards and gifts from The Art Shop and Moments, your books from Wanstead Bookshop and make sure your Christmas flowers come from Lillies and Daisy florists, who beautifully bookend our High Street. Adorn your loved ones with jewellery from Keatings and perhaps some festive fashion from Azzurra. Laden with bags, put your feet up at City Place, enjoy a coffee at Bare Brew, sip a glass of wine at The Cuckfield or lounge at The Larder, as no High Street has our range of amazing bars and cafes.

And as you relax, let’s not forget those who are less fortunate; let’s spread the love. Please buy some extra food for the Tin in a Bin foodbank network (wnstd.com/tinabsites) or make a donation direct to The Wanstead Charity (wnstd.com/charity), who support the homeless. That way, we can all have a happy and healthy Christmas.

Paul Canal is a Wanstead resident and Conservative councillor for Bridge ward. 

Author: Editor