Small Business Saturday returns this weekend, so make sure you head down to your nearest town centre and support our wonderful high streets.

BY DENISE HYLAND

Small Business Saturday returns this weekend, so make sure you head down to your nearest town centre and support our wonderful high streets. To make it even easier for you to shop local, you can park in any of the council-run car parks for free during the whole weekend.

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up gifts for your loved ones while also helping small businesses to thrive as it really is a case of use it or lose it.

Many businesses will be offering discounts to customers as an added incentive so look out for the Small Business Saturday logo in shop windows – and don’t forget to take your Greenwich One Card so that you can benefit from additional offers in participating stores.

And as Small Business Saturday coincides with our free Woolwich Winter Warmer event in the town centre, why not make a day of it and take advantage of the free ice skating on offer at the Royal Artillery Barracks? We’d love to see you supporting our local high streets so please tweet @Royal_Greenwich using the hashtag  #SmallBizSatUK and we’ll retweet your photos.

I’m so excited that we’ll be submitting our bid to become London Borough of Culture in either 2019 or 2020 to the Mayor of London on Friday, December, 1.

The boroughs that win the crown will each receive £1.1million to put together an inclusive cultural programme so please get involved in the last few days by tweeting your views on what local culture means to you to @Royal_Greenwich using #mylocalculture and #GreenwichMeans or by emailing culture@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

Submitting the culture bid isn’t the end of the story. We won’t find out whether we are successful until February, so we want to keep up the momentum during the judging process.

Our first free Christmas event in Thamesmead on Friday, December 8 is a flavour of this so please head down to the Clocktower from 3pm to 7pm to help showcase what Thamesmead has to offer.

You can find out more details by visiting
www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/thamesmeadchristmassparkle

Earlier this month, I was pleased to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our borough twinning with Maribor with a visit to the Slovenian town. A delegation from Maribor visited us earlier in the year and it was wonderful to catch up again with our twin town.

I think it’s vital to regularly celebrate our enduring friendship and share ideas for closer
collaboration, particularly to show that Greenwich is open to the world for business. Greenwich is known as a welcoming and inclusive borough and we celebrated this at our recent LGBTQ+ event marking 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

It was also a celebration of how the borough is one of just two London councils to directly commission services, something that we believe is so important for the well-being of all our residents. We have supported METRO charity financially since its launch more than 30 years ago and we will continue to do so as it provides an invaluable safe place where people of all ages can go to meet other gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, as well as get support and advice.

Finally, I would like to mention our Takeover Challenge Day. Like local authorities up and down the country, Royal Greenwich offered local young people the chance to spend a day working within different council departments relevant to their interests and ambitions.

It was a golden opportunity for the young people to learn new skills and valuable work experience, while staff were able to gain a fresh perspective.

A great deal of work goes into making projects like these work, so thank you to everyone involved and to the young people for showing such enthusiasm. Last year we received a silver award from the Children’s Commissioner for our work so hopefully this year we might go one better!

Cllr Denise Hyland is leader of Greenwich council.

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