Tom Conti backs Christmas campaign to support Hampstead independent traders

Actor Tom Conti has backed a Christmas campaign to boost business for independent traders in Hampstead and give one lucky shopper the chance to win �1,000.

The Hampstead Christmas Crawl kicks off today (Thursday), calling on punters to buy their presents and food for the celebratory feast from the village shopkeepers.

Organisers from the Hampstead Shops Campaign, which recently secured �10,000 to support Hampstead High Street, have put together a map of the village’s independent traders and are now calling on residents to support as many of them as possible over the festive period, ending on January 20.

The keenest customers who complete the shopping marathon will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win �1,000.

Mr Conti, who supported a campaign to save greengrocers Pure Fruit when Camden Council sought to increase the shop’s rent, said residents had a “duty to support local traders”.

“Shops like Photocraft in Heath Street have been here since I first arrived in London as a young actor 40 years ago,” said the 70-year-old, who has appeared in television sitcom Friends and film classic Shirley Valentine.

“The great thing about the shop is that people there are experts in what they do. You can go to them for advice and that’s valuable in business.”

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Hampstead institutions such as the Coffee Cup and the Hampstead Bazaar are stops along the Hampstead Crawl, which includes 23 independent traders.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who is leading the campaign, said “This is an exciting initiative which is aimed at the long-term sustainability of our independent shops which are the heart of our community.

“Residents in Hampstead are passionate about their independent traders and I am now asking them to convert their passion into sales for our traders.

“Up to 70p in every pound they spend will be recycled within Hampstead if they spend it with an independent trader. This is good news for them and for traders.

“Of course, shopping online, in chains or out of town may save some time and money, but only 5p in every �1 spent may find its way back into our local economy.

“If we help our local independent traders, we are ultimately helping ourselves.”