ST HELENS Chamber has been confirmed as the sponsors of the Star’s Independents’ Day coverage, underlining its commitment to enhancing the economic success of local businesses and people.

Independents’ Day gives shoppers the chance to show their support for the town’s vibrant sector of shops and businesses – from locally-run companies whose histories are woven into the fabric of the town to the fledgling firms trying to get off the ground.

The campaign, now in its fourth year, saw thousands of independent businesses in more than 150 locations across the UK get involved in 2013.

It is estimated that there are more than 200 independent retailers in St Helens, and the Star, along with the chamber, is urging everyone to get behind this year’s campaign.

Tracy Mawson, director of business services at St Helens Chamber, said: “Independent retailers are an important part of any town centre and should be encouraged to grow and prosper.”

One of the ways in which the chamber provides support to independent retailers is through the provision of the ShopWatch initiative, working closely with St Helens Council and the police.

This has provided independent retailers in the town with the ability to share intelligence and reduce losses to theft, which can impact greatly on their profitability.

Tracy added: “The survival and growth of independent businesses adds a real strength and variety to our town centre, and their deter-mination to succeed comes from the business people behind them.

“The fresh ideas and plans of potential independent retailers should be encouraged, and we offer support to do this through our business advisers. They work closely with individuals, offering them guidance and advice within areas such as recruitment, training and marketing, in order to start and grow their businesses.”

One local independent retailer who has benefited from the assistance of the chamber is Natasha Shields of Tiny Toes Babywear.

She attended a chamber’s ‘Be Your Own Boss’ event, which inspired her to cut her teeth by setting up an online business.

Natasha then went on to take a regular weekly stall at Earlestown’s popular outdoor market before renting a stall on St Mary’s Market in St Helens town centre, selling baby and toddler fashion.

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call one of the advisors on 0845 340 9980 or visit www.sthelens