There have been worries in recent years, both in Cambridge and nationally, that our high streets and town centres are all starting to look the same, inhabited by the same monopolising chains.
I am proud that Cambridge has worked hard through difficult economic times to buck that trend. Our independent traders give the city its unique appeal and make Cambridge such a special place in which to live and visit.
That is why I launched Discovering Cambridge in January – to celebrate the best independent businesses that Cambridge has to offer, and encourage more residents to support these worthy traders.
Each month, Cambridge residents are being asked to nominate their favourite independent trader or business in a particular category, and say why they are so special.
There will be a monthly winner in each category, and all those winners will go through to be considered as the overall competition winner, which will be announced at the Mill Road Winter Fair this December.
January saw ‘Hot Numbers’ steam into first place for Best Independent Coffee Shop, and in February’s category of Best Independent Music or Book Shop, we had two very deserving winners; ‘Rhythm Online’ and ‘G. David, Bookseller’ respectively.
The competition has been a great success so far, and a much needed opportunity for us all to step back and appreciate what Cambridge has to offer among its independent traders.
These businesses are so vital to our city; they not only make it a vibrant and exciting place to visit but they provide residents and visitors with the unique goods and services which help make our city so extraordinary.
I am proud that the people of Cambridge already do so much to boost independents. The book ‘Independent Cambridge’ is a great example of this, with 192 pages full of local products, services and venues. It also gives a platform for the owners of the many fantastic businesses who have their home in Cambridge to have a say… their originality, and perseverance in difficult economic times, is a massive part of what makes our city so special to live in, and to visit.
Discovering Cambridge is a great chance for residents to visit these numerous independent shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs that can be found around Cambridge, try their goods and services, and nominate their favourites.
I hope the publicity for the winners so far, from sources such as my website and the Cambridge News, have given their businesses a well deserved boost, and I hope to see many more worthy winners over the course of this year.
If you want to get involved, the best way to do so is through nominating.
You can do this by;
• Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• Tweeting me @julianhuppert
• By post – Discovering Cambridge, Julian Huppert MP, 16 Signet Court, Swann Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LA.
The category for April is Best Sports and Outdoor Activities provider, so get those nominations in.
I can’t wait to see what amazing independent businesses we discover over the course of this year!