Nailsworth is not only valued for its independent shops and markets; it can also be a lifeline for people experiencing isolation and loneliness, a survey by the town’s chamber of trade reveals.
More than 100 shoppers and visitors were asked a series of questions at various town locations over the summer. Subjects included what they liked about Nailsworth, how they shopped, and what they’d like to see change.
“One very interesting set of replies that struck us was how much people valued the social aspect of shopping in person,” Estelle St John-Smith, of the chamber, explained.
“Some people weren’t even buying from the town’s market or shops. They simply wanted to be able to chat to stallholders and traders; to have a bit of human interaction. That’s one of the things we’re all very pleased to be here for – not just to run businesses but to be part of the community.”
Among aspects of Nailsworth visitors particularly enjoyed were the independent shops, the atmosphere, and the market that runs every fourth Saturday in Mortimer Gardens. Almost a third of those questioned had come from out of the area to visit.
They also singled out the town’s lively events at Christmas, as well as the transport festival that took place over the town centre in June.
When asked what they’d like to see change, the overwhelming response was a request for improved toilet facilities. There were also concerns about any possible future imposition of car-parking charges, currently free.
“It was a very encouraging survey,” Sarah Martin of the chamber added. ‘During Covid, the chamber worked incredibly hard, making PPE equipment for local health-care providers, organising shopping for vulnerable people, and providing meals for those who needed support.
“To know that traders in Nailsworth are still making a key difference – just by being there – is very important for us all. We have a wonderful town, with shops and businesses that are delighted to serve the community in so many ways.”