Here at I Live in SE16, we are big fans of all things local – our local parks, charities, venues, churches, schools and businesses – and we think it makes sense for local people to spend time and their hard-earned money (or benefits) with independent businesses. What’s so good then about shopping local? Why all this song-and-dance about spending in SE16?

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The terrace outside Canada Water Café

Keep money in the neighbourhood

Studies consistently show that locally-owned businesses recirculate more money back into the local community than chain stores per square foot occupied. And that works for all sorts of local businesses like accountants, gyms and plumbers.

Embrace what makes us different

SE16 has distinctive characteristics that make it special for those who live, work and play round here. Where we shop, where we eat and hang-out all makes the area feel like home. If we want to live somewhere that looks and feels the same as everywhere else, we wouldn’t live here!

“…[Local businesses] also pay the taxes that support our NHS, schools and local services…”


Get better service

In a local business, you know the person serving you and they know you. They understand the products they are selling and they take time to ensure you get just what you want. If things go wrong, you know who to talk to!

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Christmas at The Stanley Arms

Create and keep good jobs

Small local businesses employ more people than the corporations and they create more job growth too. They are less likely to up sticks and move elsewhere and take those jobs with them.

Promote competition and diversity

Where you have lots of local businesses, each selecting products based on the needs of local customers and not on a national sales plan, you guarantee a wider product choice.

Help out the environment

Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases, require less transportation and generally set up in the midst of things rather than on the fringe. All this means less sprawl, less congestion and less pollution.

Support community groups

Local business owners are much more likely to support local charities in kind and in cash than those owned elsewhere. By building our local economy, we also support local giving and support for our community. You don’t get that online!

“…If we want to live somewhere that looks and feels the same as everywhere else, we wouldn’t live here!…”


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Fruit and veg on Canada Water Plaza

Put your taxes to good use

Neighbourhood businesses need less infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services than nationally-owned stores entering the community. They also pay the taxes that support our NHS, schools and local services.

Vote with your pound

If each household redirects £100 of planned spending from online spend or chain stores to locally-owned merchants, the local economic impact would be huge. We just need to get more people to spend a bit more locally.


Invest in your community businesses

Local businesses are owned by people who live here, work here and invest in the community much more than just their money.

The Blue Bermondsey Commonplace flyer - thumbWe are facing the closure of so many local businesses such as pubs due to lack of customers and they are being replaced – if they are replaced – by chains and faceless corporations that provide only a national pre-set selection of goods or services. We can make a difference to this if we as consumers make some key choices to buy from local shops, find our entertainment at local pubs and venues, eat in local cafes and restaurants and seek advice from local work-from-home specialists. And of course we want our local schools, libraries, leisure centres and charities to spend more locally too! Then their bigger budgets will really impact the local economy and keep our jobs and money round here!

We are delighted that the Bermondsey Blue now has an active and committed Business Improvement District. Building local knowledge of locally-owned and -run businesses as well as encouraging greater sharing between businesses all makes for a better Blue with more customers and a greater income for the area.

If you are part of a local business, do join the SE16Network that is building a group of locally-owned businesses who want to strengthen each other by collaborating rather than only competing. If we can start to buy from each other, offer services and advice to each other, refer potential customers to each other, then the local economy can become stronger and more prosperous. Find out more at