Why go Totally Locally in your town?

We always say “Totally Locally isn’t a silver bullet.” You won’t fix your town by putting up some posters and having a photo taken for your local newspaper. It’s not that easy. BUT if you get into the ‘feel’ of Totally Locally and learn to work in a new way, (which the Town Kit gets you doing), great things can happen.

Some towns already hold some local events and initiatives without anything tying them together so they bring them all under one banner… Totally Locally, by deploying the Town Kit. This gives them a strong recognised brand and name to promote them with. Soon, locals recognise this united front and start to say “Oh that’s a Totally Locally thing, that will be good.” When they see lots of posters, banners etc around town it promotes a united presence, brings a feeling of “look, my town is doing this!” and shows that local businesses aren’t really in competition with each other, they are working together for the benefit of the whole town.

Quite often when you start up a local business group, you’ll likely spend the first few meetings coming up with a name, a logo and colour-scheme, then plan a campaign and public launch or other events, write a press release, spend ages designing posters etc. With our Town Kit, this is all done for you! We want to make promoting your town and independent businesses easy by having all the boring bits already taken care of, you just start by adding your town name!

Town groups that have adopted the Totally Locally Way have gone on to do big things. Many have won awards, and many have seen a dramatic reduction in empty shops and discovered a new communal way of working together.  Many have gone on to create new projects and ideas under the Totally Locally banner (which themselves have won awards), and then shared how they did it with others. And that’s all we ask. We shared our good idea, you share yours with everyone else.

Here’s a little video by those Totally Locally Crickhowell types. Made with no budget but with lots of love, it uses the key messages that Totally Locally is all about. Maybe you could do something like this in your town? (Look out for ‘crazy-sofa-jumping-man, who is legendary after this!).


Crickhowell – Great British High St Award – Best High Street in Britain 2019 (+ Emma winning High St Hero Award) – link.

Hebden Bridge – Great British High St Award 2018 (Best Market Town & Peoples’ Choice).

Leek – Runner up in Telegraph’s British High Street of the Year 2013.  Action for Market Towns Business & Economy category winner 2013 for the Sunday Supplement Market.

Belper – Winner of UK Govt. High Street of the Year 2014 and Best English High Street award 2019.

Brighouse – NABMA best speciality street market for The Totally Locally Market and in the top 5 improved town centres in the UK.

Teddington – Telegraph’s Top 5 British High Streets.

Lots of people who are heading up Totally Locally have been recognised by their communities in many ways. We know it’s not all about awards, but it just shows what great things can be achieved by working together.

and… Us! We are a multi award winning organisation, through Totally Locally & other projects we have done as The Good Company, run by our founder Chris Sands. These include the Yorkshire and Humber Government Award for Outstanding Response to the Economic Downturn and an Honorary Doctorate for Chris from Staffordshire University for his work supporting towns & high streets. You can find out more at thegoodco.co.uk

We were very proud to be listed in the Big Issue’s Top 100 Change Makers and The Independent’s top 5 Happy List!

Joining in with Totally Locally can create new groups, that don’t come under the TL banner, and in some cases Totally Locally fades to be replaced by other things influenced by it too. And that’s great. This isn’t about creating a ‘super brand’, it’s about helping people to help themselves.

So….. Give it a go, get excited, allow anyone to join in (please read FAQs for the few exceptions) and let your ideas flow. But still keep it loose, informal and fun.

Some words from nice people already doing it or liking what they see

The partnership between Ripon BID and Totally Locally has brought our Indie Traders together and we have seen some fantastic new collaborations, ways of working together, events and ideas come about from the project.
Indie Traders are now seeing themselves at the forefront of a “Ripon Revolution” to get more recognition for the unique offering that is Ripon – we have seen an definitive increase in media coverage with traders interviewed on Radio York and Your Harrogate, and press coverage from our local print and digital media outlets.
Totally Locally has seen a definitive increase in desire for traders to work collaboratively with both Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire Council and Ripon City Council. With double devolution on the cards meetings are taking place with Ripon City Council and The Cathedral to create a pool of community assets such as barriers and staging, tables and chairs.
Traders no longer see themselves in competition but as one cohesive unit set to make Ripon “The place to be!”
Ripon BID Manager, Ripon
What you do, and have done is just incredible and so so helpful in do many ways.
Snug Bookshop, Bridgwater
The room was buzzing with energy last night at The Barns of Freeling as Chris Sands shared how the Totally Locally framework has helped reinvigorate towns worldwide. He’ll be working with businesses, organisations and community groups across our region.
Regional Development Australia
Many thanks for keeping this fantastic initiative going. Its very much needed!
Totally Locally Yeovil
Coming across Totally Locally Durham has changed the way I interact with the city. I’ve become so much more aware of the small businesses around me which, in my opinion, represent the heart and soul of Durham. I even found The Music Box, which is now a go-to spot for buying my dad’s birthday presents!
Michelle, Durham
I have made more friends in the last 3 or 4 weeks than I have in the rest of my life! It’s the only way forward: positivity, all pulling together. We’re all meeting together regularly, pushing and promoting each other. All common sense. It’s a lot easier when people work as a team and want to support each other. This is just the beginning.
Richard Hughes, Ripon
As part of our commitment to enable small businesses to thrive, Visa has proudly supported Totally Locally’s Fiver Fest for two consecutive years, encouraging shoppers to spend £5 extra a week in support of small businesses in their communities. The partnership involves a nationwide celebration of independent businesses, and has resulted in 68% of participating businesses seeing an increase in footfall and three in five (62%) seeing an increase in sales.
We launched TLGuisborough in April and had our first market in May .. The market was a huge success even in torrential rain, and has brought together a great group of retailers, charity groups and locals.. We feel we have kick-started underlying feelings in the town and new groups are forming to take action against what is perceived to be a neglect of the town by the local council. We do have officers from the local council onside, as well as many of the councillors which has been a huge plus and we’re now starting to motor… Suddenly there are things happening in empty shops and not only are the little independent shops in side streets popping up but also things are happening on our High Street to make sure the place is at least tidy.. Have high hopes!
Miki, Totally Locally Guisborough
I can certainly verify that Totally Locally brought together a very isolated and disjointed community, this includes the wider community who before Totally Locally was introduced all worked on their own doing their own thing. The schools, the church, the Parish Council and the local authorities have all attended our meetings and expressed an interest in getting involved in the Totally Locally Arts Festival and other events we have in the pipeline for the future. Totally Locally is just what this community needed after the recent economic down turn, and for Edwinstowe the future is once again looking bright!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to Chris and all of his team for their dedication and commitment to all of the towns who have benefited from Totally Locally.
Totally Locally Edwinstowe
I have seen first-hand how Totally Locally can work in the market town of Chorley as I work in a cafe there and there is always an increased number of customers when there is a Totally Locally event on and they then return once it has passed. Events and organisations like Totally Locally are vital for town/high street regeneration as most people are shopping online and that works well for many larger companies but for small, independent shops selling online doesn’t work and they would end up closing if they don’t have help. Totally Locally works so well because it links shops up who wouldn’t normally work together as they are similar and introduces customers to new stores they might not have known were in their town. This creates a community of people that can produce better ideas and results by working together towards the same goal.
Pasha, Chorley
Totally Locally has really been an inspiration to us in Lymington, Hampshire. We’ve got a great vibe in the town with businesses working together, getting to know each other and it’s awesome. We’re having a fundraising stall and public awareness day that’ll raise further publicity at a local event attended by circa 5K people this Sunday and shops have been so generous in donating raffle prizes – and we are growing with more businesses wanting to get involved all the time.
Ian, Totally Locally Lymington
Totally Locally has given the independent traders in Newark the ‘banner’ that they have been searching for to bring them together. The group is getting stronger and making a difference with a united message which has never been achieved before
Rebecca, Newark
We have reports from traders that since TL started footfall has increased over the past 8 weeks and in one veg shop on the high street takings are up 25%. The campaign is a huge hit and the support we got here has been amazing.
Rachel, Totally Locally Tavistock
My experience of this program is of BurntIsland Totally Locally. I live in Edinburgh and am just jealous of all the lovely produce and local stores right there all in one place. I am even considering moving to Burntisland because of it.
Diane Adams
TL has led to real town collaboration here, businesses, and community groups are all discussing ways of helping each other and helping to promote the town. Residents love it as they’ve been re-introduced to their fantastic shops and local produce. There’s a real buzz about the place again.
Emma, Totally Locally Crickhowell
This concept is great for local activation by precincts and smaller local economies. And it has now been around for enough years that the evidence of impact is now in…
Greg Mackie, Chief Executive Officer at History Trust of South Australia
It has managed to engage in one way or another 42 businesses in the town. I don’t know any other scheme in the last decade that has got close to that level of engagement.
Gary, Totally Locally Burslem
Chris and TL friends have had a massive impact on making Brighouse town centre the prosperous place it is today, thank you.
Gary, Totally Locally Brighouse
We love Totally Locally…fantastic support for indi retail, thank you for all you do
Discover Daventry
Thank you Totally Locally for supporting and caring for local traders all over the country.
Robert Thompson, Grainger Market, Newcastle
Totally Locally came to our aid in Axminster at a very difficult time when our one big anchor store was closing and the future for the rest of us looked bleak. The Totally Locally approach and the superb ideas and resources it offers have helped us make a big impression in a short time. Most important of all, it has given us hope … and energy. It is, quite literally, a town saver.
Barrie Hedges, Totally Locally Axminster
The Totally Locally concept is simple, easy to explain and very effective. in only 2 1/2 years it has transformed the thinking of our councillors and public, we have turned a sleepy sad looking road in a great up and coming one with loads of lovely independent businesses. Soon we will be opening an artisan bakery. The butcher that closed down a few years ago has been replaced by a fantastic new butcher, the fish monger is thriving and the local cafe is in need for expansion. The street is working together rather than just competing. I will be moving soon but will no doubt try and do the same for the area I will go and live in. Setting up Totally Locally had done so much good to the area that it would not make sense not to do it.
Karina, Totally Locally West Bridgford
Small business owners are now working collaboratively since embracing the Totally Locally approach, and are seeing positive results from joining in national Fiver Fests. We’ve seen higher footfall in our town centre and the feedback from business owners and the local community continues to be positive. New businesses have been discovered, ‘Fiver-Festers’ have become repeat & loyal customers and our shops and businesses say they feel more supported knowing they are part the Totally Locally community.”
Gail Hannan, Totally Locally Clay Cross
We launched Totally Locally in Leek in Autumn. Totally Locally has fostered a great collaborative spirit in the town’s independent businesses. Since then we started a new Sunday Market for local artisans called the Sunday Supplement which won an Action for Market Towns award, came runner up in the Daily Telegraph’s High Street of the Year competition, started the Cock & Buck story which has morphed in to Leek Fest, a full street festival in Leek town centre, seen the empty property vacancy rate plummet to under 6% and had lots of fun along the way. Occasionally the town was referred to as ‘Bleak Leek’ – it isn’t anymore!
Marc Briand, Totally Locally Leek
I pitched the fabulous TL initiative to our town after a friend from Macclesfield told me about the campaign in her town. Over 50 independent shops attended over 2 information gatherings and we have started to create a buzz through FB which is going really well. Very excited about launching officially this year.
Louise Harvey, Totally Locally Shipston on Stour
Launched Totally Locally Malton and Norton. We’ve had 2 Fiver Fests, a treasure hunt, and a Christmas Shopping special draw. 60 – 70 local shops and businesses are regularly involved. Now working in harmony with various local groups to make Malton and Norton even more lovely!
Emma Brooksbank and Helen Lowdell, Totally Locally Malton and Norton
People Power at its best! Totally Locally share information & support to help the people in independent businesses and shops thrive and survive! Thanks peeps!
Siobhan Pestano-Sims, Totally Locally Langport
The only TL in Shropshire (so far). Launched June. Had two fiverfests, made a video, got a permanent window display in town, lots of press including Modland Today, delivered 3,000 leaflets twice and just produced our first TL Broseley Hessian bag. Still learning but we’ve made a difference to our small town. Hard work but loving it!
Julie Owen, Totally Locally Broseley, Shropshire
We negotiated independent business’ access free accounting, ran workshops for computer skills and starting out advice, Have up to 22 traders working from a pop up shop, Scarborough is becoming all ‘connected; again…it’s alright this Totally Locally lark!
Jo Swift, Totally Locally Scarborough, North Yorkshire
TL Bungendore (NSW Australia) In just 4 months TL has already got our local business people finding out about each other and working together in new ways. TL has given us hope and a way of getting stuff done – we feel like anything is possible.
Jennie Curtis, Totally Locally Bungendore (NSW Australia)
Just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for the huge part you have played in helping our town… you have been incredibly supportive, providing us with loads of help when we started our first Food and Craft Market. The market has made a huge difference to our town with thousands of people coming, this has had a knock on effect of encouraging people to shop locally the rest of the time, for me Saturday afternoon was usually quiet but since the markets I have had a 10% increase in sales on a Saturday. Through Totally Locally we now have a great group of businesses who work together to promote our town and have created a buzz in the town, I’ve had so many people come to me and say how proud they are of their town and what a great place it is to shop.
So how much did Totally Locally charge for all their help, that would be a big, fat ZERO, you have a passion for all things local and you spread that passion to everyone you come into contact will, so keep up the good work, you’re amazing.
Totally Locally Brighouse
Before Totally Locally West Bridgford we had a lot of individual shops who tended just to focus on their own businesses not realising that if they worked together they could be a force to be reckoned with. Now on a regular basis we have events where as a group they have leaflets printed and distributed, each individual company promotes the event so it benefits everyone, after the Magic Tenner initiative people have become acutely aware how and where they fit into the local economy. We have seen a change of behaviour in that the shops are looking for more local suppliers and all this because Chris and Nigel from ’up north’ have given their time and expertise to share freely with anyone who wants it. Their (and their families’) generosity is overwhelming!
Totally Locally West Bridgford
Totally Locally has energised many of the businesses and shops in Leek, encouraging a spirit of cooperation and enthusiasm to promote events and local trade in the town. Before events were council organised and quite lacklustre, generally promoting the councils assets under the guise of town promotion. Now we are putting on our own events and markets that are professionally branded and promoted, giving a real sense of pride for customers and businesses in the Totally Locally events. Businesses are far more aware of the interest from customers in locally made / grown products and they are actively seeking out new local suppliers, which can only benefit the local economy. From a customers view we often hear good feedback, partly because the shops are seen to be doing something for the town and the customers are far more aware of the shops and services they use. All thanks to the very generous help, time and support from Totally Locally.
Totally Locally Leek
We are still in the launch phase of the campaign but Totally Locally has given us a common, positive goal and a sense of focus on our community.
Karen BE, Yankalilla, Western Fleurieu, Australia
Inspired by the launch in Matlock & Townstock, I (volunteer from Transition Belper) helped coordinate over 80 independents in Belper Town centre for a launch in May 2013. Part of the team winning best GB High Street 2014.
Ian Jackson, Totally Locally Belper, Derbyshire
We launched in Feb and could not do without the support of the Totally Locally Doers page. We love the positive, can do, go for it ethos of everything Totally Locally. And sometimes…it is seriously good fun!
Lorna Duffin, Totally Locally Burntisland, Fife

Some nice feedback from the press, telly and elsewhere

Neighbourhoods are increasingly keen on telling the story of their street, from their local cheeses to having the first bike shop in the county. Organisations such as Totally Locally, which provides an innovative local shop and economy toolkit are helping to illustrate that the way to keep local high streets alive is about working together to lift a whole town.
Maria Adebowale, The Guardian
A group called Totally Locally has helped retailers here in Hebden Bridge come together to setup an online shopping site for the town. Many of the businesses like this book seller didn’t do any online trading before this, now it’s proving to be a lifeline. For many small retailers 2020 has been the hardest year they have ever known. But collaborating, innovating and getting online fast is helping them to survive this second shutdown.
BBC News
The campaign is relentlessly positive…. Like everything about Totally Locally, it’s a really simple idea, but one which can have a real impact…. If you’re listening Mary Portas, take note.
The Newsroom, The Yorkshire Post
I absolutely love its concept and can’t wait to tell more people about the campaign going ahead. Keep up the superb work, it’s people like you guys that are making such a huge difference (and probably without even knowing it).
Karla, The Press and Journal
We know that 2020 has been exceptionally challenging for small businesses so we’re doubling down on our commitment of support. Visa is proud to work with Totally Locally in its mission to bring communities together, and we encourage all small businesses to sign up to Fiver Fest. The next three months will be such an important period for small businesses, so we are urging the nation to back the spirit of Fiver Fest and shop local, either online or offline, to help communities recover.
Dominic White, Head of Merchants and Acquirers at Visa
Award-winning branding and marketing expert Chris Sands developed Totally Locally, a marketing strategy for local shops and businesses. It offers a free-to-download plan, including ideas like a sale weekend, which led to some businesses enjoying their busiest ever trading time despite the pandemic. With regional lockdowns in place, the plan has breathed life into trading communities in cities and commuter towns, offering a lifeline for small enterprises.
The Big Issue, The Big Issue, Top 100 Changemakers
Marketing expert Chris Sands developed Totally Locally, a marketing strategy for local shops and businesses, which has helped thousands of businesses stay afloat during the crisis. It offers a free-to-download plan, including help with ideas such as click-and-collect, which led to some businesses enjoying their busiest ever trading time despite the pandemic. The plan has breathed life into trading communities in cities and commuter towns, offering a lifeline for small enterprises and enacting positive social change which many hope will survive long after coronavirus.
The Independent, The Happy List
Totally Locally is a fantastic concept. It brings down to a community level the importance of supporting our local shops and the vibrancy they give our communities.
Sam Duluk MP, Australian Houses of parliament