OUR Love Local Business campaign has got off to a flying start.

The Daily Echo has teamed up with Southampton City Council and Go! Southampton to launch the initiative in print, online and on social media, giving extensive coverage and exposure to our brilliant local business communities.

Echo editor Gordon Sutter said: "We said at the very start there is still a real buzz around Southampton and how right we were.

"It might have been the distant buzz that you hear inside a honeycomb, but sure enough at the heart of the city and its diverse district high streets there is activity that would make any worker proud.

"Our readers and traders have been telling us about the real spirit of the city, how people are working with each other to keep the local economy turning.

"We thank them for sharing their stories and encourage others to keep the tales of great endeavour coming.”

Gordon added: “We have learned a great deal in the past year, not least that working together is absolutely vital.

“So much can be achieved through collaboration and supporting and promoting business in these incredibly tough and challenging times.

“Businesses across Southampton are the lifeblood of their communities and the city’s economy. We all have a stake in their success.

"As we look towards lockdown restrictions being lifted once and for all, it is more important than ever to support our business communities, great retailers and superb hospitality venues, right across Southampton.

"The city has great ambitions and is determined to become City of Culture 2025. The aspirations of the council, businesses and people who live the city to work together will make Southampton a great and prosperous place to live for years to come."

A special online picture gallery launched on the Echo website on Monday, February 22.

And we will continue to publish stories, profiles, news and information each week highlight all aspects of great local businesses, high streets and shopping centres.

For all businesses, there will be a ‘Star Prize’ draw with winner receiving an e-commerce website and a four-month marketing package provided by LOCALiQ, the digital marketing arm of Newsquest, publisher of the Daily Echo.

Many businesses across all sectors have worked tirelessly to deal with all the challenges thrown at the them by the pandemic.

For example many have stepped up their digital presence, pivoted towards e-commerce and are now trading successfully both online and on the high street.

How readers can get involved

We are running a weekly competition for six weeks for readers to win £25 cash to spend supporting their local businesses.

All you have to do is send us a picture of them Loving Local businesses for a chance to win – click and collect, takeaways, home delivery, favourite coffee shop take away or using e-commerce from their favourite store.